Ban on University education for Afghan girls draws sharp criticism from around the world leaders – Here’s what they said

After the decision came out, US Deputy UN Ambassador Robert Wood described the move as “absolutely indefensible”.

The event will highlight one of the most challenging crises of the current times, Afghanistan girls being denied of the fundamental right to education. (Image/AP)

The Taliban-run administration of Afghanistan is facing the heat for its latest decision of suspending access to universities by female students until further notice. The decision by the country’s education ministry has drawn strong condemnation from the United States, Britain and the United Nations. According to a report by Reuters, a letter instructed Afghan public and private universities to suspend access to female students immediately, in accordance with a Cabinet decision. The ban comes shortly after a large number of the women population sat for university entrance exams across Afghanistan.

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After the decision came out, US Deputy United Nations Ambassador Robert Wood described the move as “absolutely indefensible”. “The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all Afghans, especially the human rights and fundamental freedom of women and girls,” news agency AFP quoted Wood as saying.

UN special envoy for Afghanistan Roza Otunbayeva said in a statement that the decision was “devastating.” According to Reuters, shortly before the announcement, Otunbayeva told the Security Council that the closure of high schools had “undermined” the Taliban administration’s relationship with the international community and was “extremely unpopular among Afghans and even within the Taliban leadership”.

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This decision is one in the long list of changes in the education sector that have taken place since the Taliban took over. The administration has floated numerous new rules including gender-segregated classrooms and entrances and women only permitted to be taught by women professors or old men, among others. “It is also another step by the Taliban away from a self-reliant and prosperous Afghanistan,” Reuters quoted Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward as saying. She added that the suspension was “another egregious curtailment of women’s rights and a deep and profound disappointment for every single female student”.

The universities in Afghanistan are currently shut for winters and are due to open in March next year.

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First published on: 21-12-2022 at 11:48 IST
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