A Taliban decision to indefinitely bar all women from universities in Afghanistan may have come as a shock to some in the higher education sector, but others had been preparing for the moment for weeks.
In a statement sent out to all public and private universities, acting Taliban minister of higher education Maulvi Nida Mohammad Nadimsaid instructed institutions to enforce the order, saying the ban would continue until “further notice”.
Armed vehicles were reportedly placed outside many universities in Kabul and other large cities of Afghanistan to impose the ban. In other provincial universities, women were sent back home in tears by Taliban and university officials.
“In our hearts, we knew this would happen, but it was extremely humiliating and hurtful the way they banned us from our campuses,” one of the female students told The National, holding back tears.
Sporadic protests were also reported across several provinces. While many professors took to social media to announce their resignations in protest, in the south east province of Nangarhar, a classroom full of male students at one of the universities reprotedly walked out of the examination hall in solidarity with their female classmates who were refused entry to the exams.
One university professor has been furiously working to ensure his female students were awarded their degrees before the ban was announced.
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