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Female students barred from attending universities in Afghanistan

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Kabul: Taliban interim government have ordered an indefinite ban on university education for the country’s women, the ministry of higher education said in a letter issued to all government and private universities.

“You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice,” said the letter signed by the minister for higher education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Ziaullah Hashimi, who tweeted the letter, confirmed the order in a text message to Agence France-Presse.

According to analysts the expectation was that schools would be opened for girls, not that the gates of universities would be closed as well.

They stated that if confirmed this is a “risk-increasing” decision, and asking the interim government officials to understand domestic and foreign sensitivities more than before, and remove such excuses from the foreign rivals.

The ban on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of girls and women sat university entrance exams across the country, with many aspiring to choose their desired future careers.

After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August last year, universities were forced to implement new rules including gender-segregated classrooms and entrances, and women were only permitted to be taught by female professors or old men.

This decision quickly triggered reactions from the international community, and United Nations.

The UN was “deeply concerned” by the order, said Ramiz Alakbarov, the secretary general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

“Education is a fundamental human right. A door closed to women’s education is a door closed to the future of Afghanistan,” he tweeted.

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