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A day after the Taliban banned women from studying at universities, armed guards could be seen stopping hundreds of young women from entering Afghan university campuses on Wednesday. AFP reported that a group of students could be seen gathered outside universities in the capital, Kabul. They were barred from entering by armed guards standing at the shuttered gates.

“We are doomed. We have lost everything,” said one student, who didn’t want to be identified.

Male students also expressed disbelief at the decision to stop women from reaching out for higher education. 

“It really expresses their illiteracy and low knowledge of Islam and human rights,” said one, also asking not to be named.

“If the situation continues like this the future will be worse. Everyone is scared.” 

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that the Taliban has imposed a ban on girls getting primary education as well, effectively ending any kind of education for them.

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Small protests against the decision were reported from Kabul on Wednesday. However, Taliban officials quickly quelled them. 

Taliban had promised a softer rule when they took control of the country last year. However, they have since barred women from several areas of life, leading to international outrage. 

On Tuesday, announcing the decision, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, the Minister for Higher Education, said, “You all are informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice.”

Several countries and the UN hit out at the tragic decision. 

“The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all in Afghanistan. This decision will come with consequences for the Taliban,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also registered shock.

“The secretary-general reiterates that the denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls, but will have a devastating impact on the country’s future,” his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.

The educational scene underwent a massive change after the Taliban took control of the country. Secondary school education has already been banned for girls, which in turn severely limits university intake anyway. Last year, universities were forced to set up gender-segregated classrooms and entrances. Also, women were only permitted to be taught by professors of the same sex, or old men. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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