The Taliban will allow the women study at university, as long as they do it separately from men, confirmed this Sunday (12), the minister of Higher Education of the new Afghan regime.
“Our fighters have taken up their responsibilities” by regaining power, Minister Abdul Baqui Haqqani said at a press conference in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, in which he highlighted the importance of the university system.
The West accuses the Taliban regime of wanting to neglect education.
“From now on, the responsibility for rebuilding the country rests with the universities. And we are hopeful, because the number of universities has increased considerably,” compared to the time of the first Taliban regime (1996-2001), he said.
Abdul Baqi Haqqani, minister of higher education in the new Taliban government, speaks at a press conference in Kabul — Photo: Aarmi Qureshi/AFP
“This makes us optimistic for the future, to build a prosperous and autonomous Afghanistan. We must make good use of these universities,” added the minister.
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He also confirmed that the government will ban mixed classes at universities, which were allowed by the previous government – deposed in mid-August.
“This does not pose any problem for us. They are Muslims and they will accept this. We decided to separate (men and women) because the mixed classes are contrary to the principles of Islam and our traditions,” said the minister.
According to him, mixed education was imposed by the pro-Western government of the last 20 years, despite the fact that universities request separate classes for women and men.
The new Taliban government announced last week that it would allow women to study at the university, under strict conditions: wearing full veils and in classes separate from men or divided by a curtain if there are few girls.
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During a pro-Taliban rally in front of Shaheed Rabbani University in Kabul, women hold posters and banners – “we don’t want co-education,” says one. — Photo: Aamir Qureshi
The announcement worries some universities, which claim they do not have the material and financial means to adapt to the separation by sex and that this could encourage students (going to mixed classes) to leave the country to study abroad.
It also worries Unesco, which estimated on Friday that the “immense” progress made since 2001 in education in Afghanistan is in “danger” with the Taliban and warned of the risks of a “generational catastrophe” that could affect the development of the country “for years”.
On Saturday, however, hundreds of full-veiled Afghan women voiced support for the Taliban at a university in Kabul.
During its years in power (1996-2001), the Taliban suppressed the rights of Afghan women and restricted their simpler freedoms, such as studying, working or going out alone.
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Afghans and the international community are waiting to see how the new government sets the standards that will affect women and their lives in society.
Sharia, Islamic law, was strictly applied between 1996 and 2001.
According to Islamic fundamentalists, now women will also be able to work, but respecting the “principles of Islam”, something that can be interpreted in several ways.
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