Afghanistan: Taliban Use Water Cannon During Protest Over Ban on Women Attending Universities

Afghanistan

A group of women in Afghanistan has recently held a protest opposing the Taliban’s decision to suspend all female students from accessing university education.

This move comes although the Taliban rulers promised last year that they will respect women’s rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. In March this year, the Taliban banned girls' return to secondary schools.

During the protest held on Saturday, the Taliban used water cannons against women and the latter, while escaping to protect themselves, were heard calling the officers “cowards,” CNN reports. Human Rights Watch condemned the move saying that it shows that the Taliban don’t honor Afghan women’s rights.

The decision to not allow women in Afghanistan to attend universities was announced last week, with the order becoming effective immediately, Erudera.com reports.

The Islamic leaders have also banned women from working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) because they have broken the dress policy. The order was criticized by several countries, which said such an action could have consequences for millions of Afghans.

“Today we come out on the streets of Kabul to raise our voices against the closure of the girls’ universities,” protesters from the Afghanistan Women’s Unity and Solidarity group told BBC.

Earlier this year, female students in Afghanistan were not allowed to choose in the national university entrance exam, courses such as journalism, civil engineering, veterinary, agriculture, and geology. Some students sensed that it might be a plan of the Taliban to ban women from attending university.

Previously, the chancellor of Kabul University, Mohammad Ashraf Ghaira, said that women in Afghanistan will not be permitted to study at a university unless an Islamic environment is created for all.

In September last year, after taking control of universities in Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered that the lectures during the academic year be held with the separation of men from women. At the time, it was reported that women and men were separated by a curtain in the classroom.

“In the future, the universities should try to hire female professors for female students. In the meantime, efforts should be made to appoint elderly professors who are well-known for being trustworthy to teach female students,” a proposal by Afghanistan’s union of universities read.

The Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. In 2001, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, the United States invaded Afghanistan until 2021, when the Taliban seized control of the entire country again, twenty years after being removed from power.

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