Afghanistan’s Taliban Rulers Order NGOs To Prevent Women From Working At Their Jobs As Protests Spread

Taliban security forces used violence and arrested several people dispersed the protest of Afghan women against the ruling banning students from attending university.

The Afghan Taliban announced the decision to ban women from universities late on December 20 in a letter from the Islamist group’s education ministry to higher education institutions, prompting condemnation from the international community and the United Nations.

A group of about 50 hijab-clad women, some wearing masks, gathered in the capital Kabul on December 22 for a peaceful protest march against the move, chanting anti-ban slogans, but were attacked and dispersed by Taliban security forces, the participants. and the witnesses told RSE.

The participants had intended to gather in front of Kabul University, Afghanistan’s largest and most prestigious institution of higher education, but were moved to another location after a large number of security forces were deployed there.

One of the women who attended the march, Basira, told RFE/RL that the security forces beat some of the participants and took them away, while others managed to escape. A number of journalists who followed the protest were also detained.

“Unfortunately, the Taliban turned our protest into violence once again,” she said he told RFE/RL.

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She said she did not know the total number of women who were arrested, but said one woman she knew, Zahra Mandaj, was arrested with four others. Basira said she and others escaped arrest by running into houses whose occupants had opened their doors.

Another participant, Shahla Arefi, told RFE/RL that plainclothes security forces infiltrated the march and immobilized some protesters who tried to flee when armed Taliban appeared.

Taliban authorities have not commented on the incident, but the Taliban-led government’s minister of higher education defended the decision to ban women from universities.

In an interview with Afghan television, Nida Mohammad Nadim said the ban was necessary to prevent gender mixing in universities and because he believed some subjects taught violated the principles of Islam.

He also said the female students ignored Islamic instructions, including what to wear, and were not accompanied by a male relative on the trip.

“They dressed as if they were going to a wedding. Those girls who came to the university from home also did not follow the hijab instructions,” he said.

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The ban is in effect until further notice, he added.

Nadim also pushed back against international condemnation of the ban and said foreigners should stop interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

On December 22, Turkey and Saudi Arabia became the last Muslim countries to condemn the move by the Taliban authorities.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at a news conference with his Yemeni counterpart, said the ban was “neither Islamic nor humane” and called on the Taliban to reverse the move.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, a country that until recently also enforced strict restrictions on women’s rights but has now begun to allow them more freedom, expressed “surprise and regret” at the Taliban’s decision.

The ministry said the move was “stunning in all Islamic countries”.

On December 21, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan urged Taliban authorities to immediately cancel the decision.

Qatar, which has maintained contact with Taliban authorities, also condemned the decision.

German Foreign Minister Analene Berbock’s December 22 announcement on behalf of the developed economies of the Group of Seven (G7) states that the persecution of the sexes could be a crime against humanity.

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The G7 has condemned in the strongest terms the ban on women attending universities, which, along with other Taliban measures, would appear to be a systematic policy, said Burbock, who chaired a virtual meeting of foreign ministers on December 22.

“Gender-based persecution can constitute a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute, to which Afghanistan is a signatory state,” the foreign ministers said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the Taliban were trying to condemn Afghan women “to a dark future with no opportunities” by banning them from attending universities.

Inside Afghanistan, where cricket is a hugely popular sport, several cricketers also condemned the move, while some students at Nangarhar University’s medical school, in eastern Afghanistan, refused to sit exams on December 21 in solidarity with their banned female colleagues.

In neighboring Pakistan, students from Peshawar University in the northwest of the country organized peaceful demonstrations in support of Afghan girls’ right to higher education, calling on the Taliban to reverse the ban.

According to AP and AFP reports

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