The Islamic Emirate’s decision to suspend higher education for women has sparked widespread reactions at national and international levels.
The Ministry of Higher Education in a letter on Tuesday ordered the suspension of higher education for female students in Afghanistan until the next announcement.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he is “deeply alarmed by news reports that the Taliban have suspended access to universities to women and girls.”
According to Guterres, the denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls but will have a devastating impact on the country’s future.
He urged the “de facto authorities” of Afghanistan to “ensure equal access to education at all levels for women and girls.”
Former president Hamid Karzai who returned to Kabul today expressed sorrow over the Islamic Emirate’s decision to ban women from attending universities. He asked the government to immediately reopen schools and universities for women and girls.
“Education is one of the fundamental and basic rights of all citizens. Depriving girls of this right is regrettable,” former HCNR chief Abdullah Abdullah said on Twitter.
“While all citizens of the country support girls education, I, as a citizen, expect & ask that the decision to close girls schools & universities to be reconsidered,” he said.
Former US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad in a statement received by TOLOnews said that the announcement regarding women’s banishment from higher education by a faction within the Taliban is shocking and incomprehensible.
“There is nothing within Islam or in Afghan history to justify such a decision,” he said. “Distinguished Islamic scholars in Afghanistan and around the world remind us that education for women as well as for men is a basic Islamic principle.”
Khalilzad said that he calls on those “Taliban opposed to this decision and other Afghan leaders to do all they can to make sure this decision is reversed, and high schools and universities are opened for girls.”
The Foreign Ministry of Qatar also in a statement expressed concerns over the banning of women and girls from going to schools.
The statement said these negative practices will have a serious impact on human rights, development and economy in Afghanistan.
“As a Muslim state where women enjoy all due rights, particularly education, the State of Qatar calls on the Afghan caretaker government to review its decision in line with the teachings of the holy religion of Islam regarding women’s rights,” the statement reads.
The US Department of State said it “condemns in the strongest terms the Taliban’s indefensible decision” to ban women from universities, keep secondary schools closed to girls, and continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all in Afghanistan,” the statement reads. “This decision will come with consequences for the Taliban.”
The State Department said that no other country in the world bars women and girls from receiving an education.
Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement urges Afghan authorities to revisit the decision to suspend university and higher education for female students in Afghanistan.
"We strongly believe that every man and woman has the inherent right to education in accordance with the injunctions of Islam," Pakistan foreign ministry said.