Male, Female Students Come Out on Streets in Herat, Kabul, Balkh to Protest Against Taliban’s Ban on University Education For Women

The latest: Afghans are gathering across cities in Afghanistan to protest against the Taliban’s decision to ban university education for women. From Herat to Kabul and Balkh, male and female students came to the streets to protest against the ban, however, the Taliban has been violently supressing these.

Go deeper:

  • A group of women in Herat province protested against Taliban’s ban on university education for girls. Taliban violently disrupted the demonstration of these protesters. According to sources several boys also participated in today’s protest.
  • Local sources from Herat said after protests rocked the city it has been turned in a military fortress with Taliban fighters patrolling the entire area.
  • According to Herat residents, the routes leading to the university and the province are full of Taliban fighters, waiting to quell any kind of dissent.
  • Meanwhile, male students at the Herat University said that the Taliban has shut down Herat University “until further notice”.
  • A Herat resident said that a group of 15 people in uniform are guarding the front gate of Herat University to prevent further demonstrations.
  • There was an attempt to hold a demonstration in Herat on Saturday morning, however, Taliban fighters disrupted the procession violently.
  • Protesters said that the Taliban beat them up and even arrested a few of them.
  • Members of the students’ demonstration also added that the Taliban used whips, electric weapons and rifles to beat up female students.
  • Even in Takhar, a group of women held a march on Saturday to protest against the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education. A video circulating on social media shows the gathering of women chanting, “Education is our right”.
  • In Kabul and some other cities, Taliban members with light and heavy weapons and sprinkler vehicles have been seen patrolling the roads to prevent possible protests.
  • The presence of Taliban paramilitary forces in front of Kabul University and Dasht-e-Berchi area is heavy.
  • On Thursday, the group also cracked down on women’s protests in Kabul city and arrested a number of women protesters. At least two female protesters are believed to be in Taliban custody.

Meanwhile in a related development, sources in Herat said that the Taliban has threatened university professors in the province not to protest the group’s decision to ban girls’ education. According to sources, the head of the Herat University sent a letter to a group of university professors calling the decision of the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education, political and temporary.

  • In this letter, university professors are requested not to participate in protest movements against the ministry’s decision. “According to the information, some people are trying to launch strikes or demonstrations, and by spreading false news and fabricating facts, they want to take advantage of the feelings of our compatriots,” the letter said.
  • The Head of the Herat University has warned that violators will be dealt with appropriately.

Zoom out: This comes even as sources from Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Private University in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, said that male students have held a protest gathering in response to the suspension of girls’ education.

  • Sources said that the students took action to support female students and have not attended classes.
  • Apart from them, students at Balkh University’s School of Medicine have also protested against the ban and said that they will not attend their classes until the Taliban’s decision is overturned.
  • And, another school in Kabul said that it has closed classes for boys for a week to protest against the ban. A statement issued by the school expressed hope that the Taliban’s Ministry of Education would reconsider the return of girls to schools and universities.
  • In Kabul, students of several majors at Kabul Central University and Polytechnic University have also boycotted classes. At the same time, more than 60 university professors from different provinces have joined the protesters and resigned from their positions.
  • Even, students at the Afghan Pamir Institute of Higher Education did not take the exams scheduled on Saturday to protest the exclusion of girls from education. Videos circulating on social media showed students returning their blank answer sheets during the exam in protest.
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