Dozens protest in Afghanistan against ban on women's education

Sun, 25 Dec 2022 10:59 GMT
Dozens of Afghan girls and women, mainly students, took to the streets in western Herat on Saturday to protest the Taliban's ban on women's education.
Dozens protest in Afghanistan against ban on women's education

Protesters, divided into small groups, were chanting "education is our right" and gathered in front of the provincial governor's office, a protester told dpa.

The Taliban forces tried to disperse them using water cannons, sticks and batons, another protester said.

Videos of the scene show a fire engine spraying protesters with water, which was apparently mixed with some chemicals.

The Taliban's decision to ban girls and women from attending school and university has sparked strong international opposition.

Kabul residents reported a heavy Taliban military presence in the city to suppress any possible protests. At least one woman was reportedly missing after Thursday's protest in the capital.

Taliban's minister of higher education has justified the ban on university education for women on the grounds that female students were not observing strict dress codes, were attending classes without the accompaniment of male relatives and were mixing with male students.

Women and girls have been largely excluded from public life since the Taliban seized power in August last year.

In another move restricting women's rights, Afghanistan's Economy Ministry has ordered all national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a letter to suspend the jobs of their female employees until further notice.

The reason given is the non-compliance of the female employees with the Taliban's government rules regarding the hijab, the head covering women are supposed to wear in public.

If any NGO disobeys this order, their licence will be terminated, the letter signed by Minister Deen Mohammad Hanif warned.

The ministry's spokesman, Abdul Rahman Habib, confirmed the authenticity of the letter to dpa.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Saturday said he was "deeply concerned that the Taliban's ban on women delivering humanitarian aid in Afghanistan will disrupt vital and life-saving assistance to millions."

"Women are central to humanitarian operations around the world," Blinken wrote on Twitter.

"This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people."

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