The Acting Minister of Education, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, assured that the fundamentalist movement will allow women to attend university. However, he indicated that there will be a ban on mixed classes. The setback in the rights of women and girls is one of the main concerns since the Taliban returned to power on August 15, after 20 years of being occupied by the United States.
The Taliban try to assuage fears about the group. This Sunday, he announced changes in his return to power, which are nonetheless viewed with suspicion. The fundamentalist movement known for its humiliations, especially against women amid strict enforcement of Sharia, has promised to rule differently.
The Acting Minister of Education, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, assured that the Taliban will authorize women’s access to higher education, something forbidden for them during their previous term, between 1996 and 2001.
“(The Taliban want) to create a reasonable Islamic curriculum that is in line with our Islamic, national and historical values and, on the other hand, be able to compete with other countries,” he told an assembly known as Loya Yirga.
Afghan women will be allowed to study at university but there would be a ban on mixed classes under their rule, the Taliban’s acting higher education minister said on Sundayhttps://t.co/thEfbuhf30
– AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 29, 2021
But the alleged turnaround of the hardline Islamist movement is greeted with skepticism, with many questioning whether the group will deliver on its promises. No women were present at Sunday’s meeting in Kabul, which included other senior Taliban officials, demonstrating a gap between the extremists’ commitments and actions.
“The Taliban Higher Education Ministry only consulted male teachers and students about resuming university functions,” said a lecturer who worked at a city university during the last government. She noted that, in this way, the group demonstrates “the systematic prevention of women’s participation in decision-making.”
In Afghanistan, college admission rates have risen in the last 20 years of occupation by the United States and its NATO allies. This period of time highlighted the participation of women in academic life alongside men and the fact that they attended seminars with male professors.
However, socialization between men and women is precisely a change that the Taliban have made clear that they will not tolerate, despite their supposed good intentions.
Taliban confirms gender segregation in classrooms
For the insurgents, allowing women to attend college does not mean that they will do so alongside men. The Acting Minister of Education was blunt in stating that under his control there will be a ban on mixed classes.
“The people of Afghanistan will continue their higher education in light of Sharia law safely and without being in a mixed environment of men and women,” said Abdul Baqi Haqqani.
Girls and boys will also be segregated in primary and secondary schools, which was already common throughout Afghanistan, an already deeply conservative country.
The group has pledged to respect the advances made in women’s rights over the past two decades, but only in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 by US-led troops, women have made significant strides, with a growing number of them working in strongholds previously considered male, including politics, the media, and the judiciary. In addition, 3.5 million girls accessed school in this way.
However, since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, amid the withdrawal of Western troops, many Afghans have expressed panic about returning to what was the last regime of the radicals.
With a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the militants then carried out public flogging and stoning of women for breaching any of its rules. Among them, the prohibition of receiving an education, working, speaking aloud in public, traveling outside their homes without a male relative, showing any part of their body or looking out onto balconies.
Although there were advances in the last two decades in large cities of the country such as Kabul, the Taliban continued to rule in many areas, particularly rural and ultra-conservative families, where the majority of women lived under strict rules and girls were sold as brides to men. greater.
There is not much to wait for the promises of the Taliban, as they could once again unleash their abuses, activists say.
“Men with these ultra-conservative ideas were constantly and still are. They are educated, some highly educated. They are the worst (…) Perhaps one of our greatest struggles and greatest fights will be with them,” he said, from his home in Kabul, veteran women’s rights advocate Mahbouba Seraj, who works to support victims of domestic violence and other forms of gender abuse.
The Taliban also vowed not to seek “revenge” against those Afghans who collaborated with the West in the 20-year occupation. However, some activists, journalists and translators have recently indicated that they had to hide or flee because insurgents were looking for them to attempt on their lives.
It is not clear whether they act under the direction of the Taliban leaders or on their own, in the face of divisions within the extremist group, but in the face of violence and radicalization that characterizes them, doubt and fear of the Taliban increases. Proof of this, the current mass exodus both by air and land.
With AFP and Reuters