(Bloomberg) – In spite of international outrage, Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government banned women from attending universities nationwide and enforced the restriction in some areas with the use of force. This further violated the rights of the country’s female population.
Neda Mohammad Nadeem, the Taliban’s minister of higher education, issued a statement on Tuesday saying, “According to a cabinet decision, you are all instructed to promptly carry out the specified order of halting girls’ education till further notice.” “Make sure the order is carried out.
“The extremists didn’t waste any time making sure the rule was followed.
Around seven in the morning, we arrived to the university. Tamana Aref, a female student at Kabul’s prestigious Kardan University, stated over the phone that the boys were let inside and that they pointed guns at us and told us to go home. “The last shred of hope has been lost and destroyed. The nation has been transported back to the dreaded 1990s.
One of the most staunchly conservative Taliban figures, Minister Nadeem, recently claimed that women’s education is not an Afghan tradition but rather a product of Western culture that US soldiers introduced to the nation. These statements ignore the important role women played in Afghanistan for a large portion of the 20th century, contributing to the constitution of the nation, earning the right to vote, and managing enterprises.
The decision, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will further hamper the Taliban’s efforts to gain support and recognition.
In a statement released late on Tuesday, Blinken asserted that “education is a human right” and foresaw future “consequences.” “It is also crucial for the stability and growth of Afghanistan’s economy. When half of a country’s citizens are denied opportunities, it cannot prosper.
According to his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “concern” at the choice. The Taliban are “clearly making it obvious every day that they do not respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women,” according to Human Rights Watch, which branded the action a “shameful decision.
“Even the closely affiliated government of the militant group’s neighbour, Pakistan, expressed its disappointment over the suspension of higher education for Afghan women students.
In a statement, its foreign ministry urged the Afghan authorities to review this choice.
When the Taliban took over in 2021 as US soldiers retreated, they forbade the majority of girls from attending school. They fired hundreds of Afghan women from their government employment in the latter part of last year and forbade them from travelling alone unless they were accompanied by a male relative. Women are once more expected to cover completely in burqas while in public.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, the Taliban’s decision to prevent women from working might cost the Afghan economy up to $1 billion yearly, or 5% of its GDP. Additionally, UNICEF estimates that depriving 3 million teenage girls of a secondary education will cost Afghanistan at least $500 million every year.
Additionally, women are not permitted to practise law or hold positions as judges, prosecutors, or defence attorneys. Prior to the invasion, Afghanistan had approximately 300 female judges; 244 of them have since left the country.
Afghanistan’s prospects, already wrecked by decades of conflict and political unrest, have only become worse since the Taliban took control. According to a World Bank report released last month, “a gloomy picture of living conditions in Afghanistan is painted as widespread destitution and food insecurity persist, significantly affecting the economy and the welfare of the Afghan people, especially women and girls.”
According to the research, two-thirds of the population of the nation struggle to meet basic food and non-food demands, a situation made worse by a drought and rising food costs worldwide in the midst of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. In addition, 65% of respondents said they anticipated a worsening of their economic circumstances in the upcoming year.