A curtain divides male, female students as Afghan universities reopen.
A curtain divides male, female students as Afghan universities reopen.
Social media handout/via Reuters
  • The higher education minister within the Taliban said on Sunday that Afghan women are allowed to study in universities.
  • Women, however, must study in segregated classrooms and adhere to Islamic dress.
  • Prior to the Taliban's takeover, women learned alongside men and there was no mandated dress code.
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The Taliban on Sunday said women are allowed to study in universities as long as they wear Islamic dress and classrooms are segregated by gender.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, higher education minister within the Taliban, said Islamic dress like hijabs will be mandatory, the Associated Press reported. Gender segregation will also be required.

"We will not allow boys and girls to study together," Haqqani said. "We will not allow co-education."

The Taliban reclaimed control of Afghanistan following President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from the region. In its takeover, the Taliban renamed the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, reverting back to the same name used during the last time the regime took power, in 1996.

Under the Taliban's rule at that time, women were severely oppressed, facing restrictions like being barred from working or attending schools.

This time around, the militant group has promised to respect women's rights "within Islamic law." But human rights activists, Afghan women, and the White House are skeptical of the Taliban's vow.

Prior to the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, women learned in co-ed spaces within universities and did not have to follow a dress code.

But Haqqani at a news conference once again reiterated that the Taliban has changed since its last rule in the country.

"We will start building on what exists today," Haqqani said.

Despite this promise that the Taliban will have fewer restrictions for women compared to two decades ago, there are clear signs that women stand to face harsh consequences under their control.

Soon after their seizure of Afghanistan's government, Taliban fighters reportedly set an Afghan woman on fire for feeding them "bad cooking," Insider's Joshua Zitser reported.

Taliban fighters also instructed a reporter from CNN to step aside while reporting on camera because she's a woman.

One Afghan woman pleaded with an American soldier, begging for help. The woman was behind bars trying to communicate with the soldier. "Help, help," she said, crying and in between gasps. "I want to help family. Taliban coming for me."

Another woman who was a judge in Afghanistan told Reuters she was being hunted down by the very same men she had once put in prison.

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