KABUL: Graduates from Paktia University in Afghanistan recently called for the reopening of schools and universities for girls, urging the Taliban to take immediate action. The graduates emphasized that girls have the right to education and should not have their time wasted.
One graduate, Ahmadullah, mentioned that girls had been banned from universities since the Taliban seized power in August 2021. Another graduate, Mohammad Mustafa, stressed the importance of having both female and male doctors in society. Some family members of the graduates expressed hope that their daughters would receive graduation certificates alongside their male counterparts. Lutfullah Khairkhwa, the Taliban-led deputy minister of Higher Education, stated that the matter of girls’ education would be addressed according to the decision of the Taliban leadership. He clarified that schools would resume when the second order was issued.
According to official information, 146 people graduated from Paktia University’s medical school, but no female graduates were reported.
At the 53rd regular session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Irene Khan, highlighted the complete erasure of women’s public presence by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Khan emphasized the role of women’s rights groups in advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Suraya Azizi, Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to UNOG, expressed concerns about the increased risk of violence against women and girls since the Taliban’s takeover.
Nazela Hassanzada, a women’s rights activist, warned that excluding women from government and social positions would lead to economic and social problems and hinder progress. Suhail Shaheen, head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, disputed claims of women’s total exclusion, stating that some women were employed by Afghan government institutions and would be reassigned to other institutions.