Universities opened across Afghanistan on Monday but a peculiar sight showed the dystopia of our times. Only the male students could be seen walking down the halls as women students remained barred from entering the premises to pursue education. 

“According to a decision by the Supreme Council for Higher Education, studies of the male students at governmental higher education institutions in the colder provinces will officially start from [March 6] of the current year,” read a statement by the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education. 

Universities and schools in Afghanistan go on a winter break in nearly 24 provinces every year. Up until last year, women were allowed to continue with their education but the Taliban 2.0, soon reverted to its default settings. 

“It’s heartbreaking to see boys going to the university while we have to stay at home. This is gender discrimination against girls because Islam allows us to pursue higher education. Nobody should stop us from learning, ” 22-year-old Rahela, a university student was quoted as saying by AFP. 

In December last year, the Taliban authorities sent a letter to all public and private colleges announcing the indefinite ban on Afghan girls attending educational institutions.

The reason cited for the ban was that women students had failed to appropriately observe gender-based religious restrictions. 

“You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending the education of females until further notice,” read the letter. 

Not only colleges and universities are shut down for the female sex, but the Taliban has also dropped shutters on secondary schools for female students. 

Whenever the international community confronts the Taliban about its stance, the authorities remark that the ban is temporary.

According to prominent human rights groups, the Taliban is the only country in the world where women and little girls are barred from entering educational as well as work institutions. 

However, the explicit mention of ‘only males’ in the reopening circular suggests that the Taliban is not looking to go back on its decision any time soon. 

(With inputs from agencies)




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