Women in Afghanistan will only be allowed to study in universities if they are segregated from men and observe a new Islamic dress code, the Taliban has decreed.
Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban‘s new Higher Education minister, said female students would be taught by women wherever possible, and classrooms would remain separated.
Students in Afghanistan told i earlier this week that women pupils are leaving their university places in Afghanistan “in fear” after moves to segregate classrooms and force them to cover their faces.
Haqqani claimed the Taliban would “start building the country on what exists today” and did not want to turn the clock back 20 years to when the movement was last in power.
He told a news conference in Kabul: “Thanks to God we have a high number of women teachers. We will not face any problems with this. All efforts will be made to find and provide women teachers for female students.”
Haqqani said where no women teachers are available, special measures would be adopted to ensure separation.
He added: “When there is really a need, men can also teach (women) but in accordance with sharia, they should observe the veil.”
The minister suggested that “where necessary” some students could be required to stay at home and stream their lessons online.
Haqqani also said all subjects taught at colleges would be reviewed in the coming months, with women able to study and work in accordance with local cultural traditions.
Classrooms divided by curtains have already been seen in many places since the Western-backed government collapse and the Taliban seized Kabul last month.
Earlier this week, Bakhter University student Abas, 28, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, told i: “We had 20 females students in our class and more than 100 females in our office.
“The Taliban separated our classes and stopped all females from working in our office. Most of [the women have left] education. [Some male students have] also left our class and [will] never go back to university because of the behaviour of the Taliban.
“The Taliban totally disagree with women working anywhere… [We students] believe in democracy and they don’t want it.”
Students at Bakhter University also shared pictures with the paper showing classrooms segregated with screens.
Women and girls were banned from schools and universities under Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001.
Taliban officials have been attempting to persuade the world that they have changed since imposing the harsh fundamentalist rule when they were last in power.Internet Explorer Channel Network