Afghan Women Banned from Universities
Ten years ago, in 2012, I traveled around Afghanistan giving lectures on a free press and America’s First Amendment protections. Some of my best students were women at Afghanistan's major universities. I took this of some of them during one of my classes.
This week the Taliban issued a statement saying, "Female students have been banned from private and public universities in Afghanistan effective immediately and until further notice." This is the latest edict cracking down on women's rights and freedoms. The ban further restricts women's education because girls have been excluded from secondary schools since the return of the Taliban last year.
The Taliban minister of higher education Nida Mohammad Nadim said he issued the decree to avoid the mixing of genders in universities and because he believes some subjects being taught violated the principles of Islam. He pushed back against international condemnation, including from Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, saying “that foreigners should stop interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned the Taliban that the United States will impose “costs” on the group if it does not reverse the ban. He said that the government in Kabul will not be able to improve relations with the rest of the world if it continued to deny Afghan women their fundamental rights.
Taliban security forces in the Afghan capital enforced the sanction by blocking young women’s access to the schools. Associated Press video showed women weeping and consoling one another outside a Kabul campus.
So it’s back to the Stone Age in Afghanistan. If you wondered if the Taliban were going to become enlightened rulers, here's your answer.