In a new order by the Taliban regime, officials issued that public and private
colleges and universities should no longer allow Afghan women to attend classes. Many
students returned to school despite the order, but were not allowed to enter. In some schools,
female students were told to leave the gate at gunpoint.

Since the Taliban takeover of the government last August, teenage Afghan girls have not been
allowed to attend schools beyond grade six. Girls could pursue higher education at the college
level after passing the university entrance exam.

The new order is no surprise – the group has been gradually restricting rights and freedoms for
all Afghans, especially targeting women. After a few months of uncertainty, in March 2022, the group announced their decision to ban girls from attending middle schools and
beyond on the day of the first day of school. Then too, officials of the regime argued that the
decision was “temporary.” However, Afghan girls have not been able to attend schools since
the Taliban takeover.

The new order on higher education also comes with a twist. It states, “women should not be
allowed to attend until further notice,” a misleading choice of language to diminish and not
provoke any strong reaction. The Afghan people, however, know well that this is only a deceit
and giving false hopes.

Time and again, Afghan girls have shown their drive and passion for education. Despite
continued financial struggles, intimidation, reduced hours of education to women by the
Taliban, segregated classrooms, and imposed dress codes, Afghan women continued to pursue
education. Yet, the Taliban has decided to close university doors to women.

Afghanistan is the only country in the world in which women and girls are systemically
discriminated against. It is the only country where women are not allowed to seek education,
work, move freely, and go to the hospital or seek treatment without a close male family
member. It is the only country where women are imprisoned and held hostage by state

Under the Islamic republic, supported by the international community for 20 years, women
were allowed to pursue education at any highest level; they could work in any field; and worked
hard towards a more equal and prosperous society. The Constitution of Afghanistan guaranteed
women and all Afghans equal rights, outlawing any discrimination on the basis of gender,
language, or religion.

Since the US withdrawal and the collapse of the former regime to the Taliban, women have
become less than second-class citizens, regularly facing restrictions and violations. To many
Afghans, the international community is equally responsible for the horrid situation that
Afghans are living under the Taliban regime.

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