Afghanistan’s Islamic Taliban have banned women from taking annual college entrance exams. The Ministry of Higher Education issued a letter instructing private and public universities not to admit women to the entrance exam for the next academic year, local news channel Tolonews reported today.
Officials from the Ministry of Higher Education confirmed the letter. The Islamists are thus dampening the hopes of many Afghans that the Taliban can lift a ban on universities imposed in December after protests at home and harsh international criticism.
Drastic restrictions for women
Since taking power in August 2021, the Taliban has radically restricted women’s rights. In the education sector in particular, there have been serious cuts at several stages. First, girls were banned from attending school after sixth grade. In December, in another drastic measure, women were finally banned from universities as well.
The Islamists justified the measure, among other things, with the fact that the students did not wear the headscarf properly and men and women were taught together. Many other countries, both Western and Muslim, strongly condemned the ban. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Taliban to lift the ban.