A group of women took to the streets in the city of Herat, Afghanistan, today, Saturday, to protest against the Taliban’s order this week to suspend all female students from classes. University attendance in the country.
Video footage circulating on social media showed Taliban officials using water cannons to disperse the protesters.
Girls were seen running from water cannons and “cowards” were shouted at officials.
The Taliban announced this week that it was Suspension of university studies For the students, it was the latest step in an ongoing crackdown on Afghan women’s freedoms.
The move came despite promises by the group when it returned to power last year that it would respect women’s rights.
It follows a similar move in March this year that prevented girls from returning to secondary school.
Male students at universities across the country have responded to the latest education ban by boycotting their exams in protest.
“Education is the duty of men and women,” said a statement issued by the Mirwais Nika Institute of Higher Education in Kandahar on Saturday. “It is a basic right and secret to the country’s development and self-reliance.”
The school said students initially asked Taliban officials to rescind the ban but “no positive response was given” – adding that “unhappiness and dissatisfaction” fueled the boycott.
A university official told CNN that the students’ decision to boycott their entrance exams will lead to classes being postponed.
The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021 in a quick takeover after the withdrawal of US forces, having previously ruled the country from 1996 until 2001 – when a US-led invasion forced the group from power.
During its previous rule, the group was notorious for treating women as second-class citizens.
After seizing power last year, the group made numerous promises that it would protect the rights of women and girls.
But activists say the Taliban have gone back on their word and are steadily undermining women’s freedoms once again.
On Saturday, the group Command All local and international NGOs in the country to prevent female employees from attending work. Failure to comply would result in the NGOs’ licenses being revoked, as stated in an official notice from the ministry.
A spokesperson told CNN that the move was due to a failure to observe the Islamic dress code and other laws and regulations in the Islamic emirate.
Afghan women are no longer able to work in most sectors.
Their rights to travel were also severely restricted, and their access to public spaces was also severely restricted. Women are also required to cover themselves completely in public – including their faces.
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