The Taliban have ordered an “indefinite ban” on women attending university in Afghanistan in a letter sent to all government and private universities on Tuesday.
Signed by Neda Mohammad Nadeem, the minister for higher education, the letter states “You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice.”
This latest ban furthers the restrictions placed on female education in the country, after girls were banned from attending secondary schools last year when the Taliban took control of the country.
Fereshta Abbasi, researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a tweet on Tuesday that “The Taliban are making it clear every day that they don’t respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women.”
Earlier this year, HRW interviewed prominent Afghan women in response to Afghanistan becoming the only country that bans girls from attending secondary schools, asking what education meant to them.
Sahar Fetrat, Assistant Researcher for Human Rights Watch said, “If I have one thing to tell the world, I want everyone to advocate for the rights of Afghan girls, and let Afghan girls learn.”
Heela Yoon, founder of Afghan Youth Ambassadors for Peace spoke about how Afghan women make up half the population of the country, saying, “if they don’t have education, I don’t think we can contribute much to the prosperity of the country.”
The Taliban seized control of the country in August last year, and quickly prohibited women from secondary and high school education, working in multiple jobs, traveling without a man, and going out in public without wearing a burqa.
The international community was quick to condemn the decision, with the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, announcing on Twitter that he was “deeply dismayed” by the decision, adding that “Afghan women deserve better”.