Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

However, women will have to wear headgear and the curriculum will be revised, say the new rulers in Afghanistan.

Women in Afghanistan can continue to study at universities, also at postgraduate level, but classrooms will be gender segregated and head coverings are compulsory.

Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani outlined the new policy at a news conference on Sunday, a day after the Taliban hoisted its flag over the presidential palace, marking the start of work the new, male government announced last week.

The rise of the Taliban has sparked fears that the group will return to the draconian rule that determined its first rule in Afghanistan 20 years ago. This includes the denial of education for girls and women, as well as its exclusion from public life.

“We will start building on what exists today,” Haqqani said, maintaining the Taliban’s position that his attitude, especially towards women, has shifted over the past 20 years.

The most recent statement comes as the group sought international legitimacy following its lightning-fast offensive across the country, while the United States was prepared to withdraw troops by 31 August. The Taliban captured Kabul on August 15.

Despite the attitude of the Taliban, women were banned from playing sports, and the Taliban use violence in recent days against protesters demanding equal rights.

‘Will not allow co-education’

On Sunday, Haqqani said female university students were experiencing restrictions that included mandatory clothing. He said hijabs would be mandatory, but did not specify whether it meant mandatory headscarves or also mandatory face coverings.

Gender division will also be applied, he said. “We will not allow boys and girls to study together,” he said. “We will not allow co-education.”

Haqqani said that the subjects taught will also be reviewed.

Although he did not elaborate on that, he said he wanted university graduates in Afghanistan to be competitive with university students in the region and the rest of the world.

The Taliban, which endorses a strict and clear interpretation of Islam, banned music and art during its previous reign.

This time, television remained and news channels were still showing women presenters, but the message from the Taliban was erratic.

Taliban spokeswoman Syed Zekrullah Hashmi said in an interview with the popular TOLO News in Afghanistan that women should give birth and raise children, and although the Taliban did not rule out women’s participation in government, the spokesman said : ‘It is not necessary for women in the cabinet. ”

The new higher education policy indicates a change in accepted practice ahead of the Taliban takeover. Universities are coordinated, with men and women studying side by side, and female students do not have to match a dress code.

However, the vast majority of female university students have chosen to wear headscarves in accordance with religious, personal and cultural preferences.

In primary and secondary schools, boys and girls were taught separately before the Taliban came to power.

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