Women barred from Kabul University

Women barred from Kabul University
© KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

Women will be barred from attending classes or working at Kabul University, the school’s chancellor, who was appointed by the Taliban, announced on Monday.

“Folks! I give you my words as the chancellor of Kabul University,” chancellor Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat wrote on Twitter, “as long as a real Islamic environment is not provided for all, women will not be allowed to come to universities or work. Islam first.”

Ghairat previously wrote on Twitter on Monday, in Pashto, that this is because of a “shortage of female lecturers.” 

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“Due to shortage of female lecturers, we are working on a plan for male lecturers to be able to teach female students from behind a curtain in the classroom,” Ghairat wrote. “That way an Islamic environment would be created for the female students to get education.”

He later criticized a report by The New York Times covering his announcement as a “bad misunderstanding.” The NYT tweeted about its article, saying, “Tightening the Taliban’s restrictions on women, the group’s new chancellor for Kabul University announced on Monday that women would be indefinitely banned from the institution either as instructors or students.”

However, Ghairat took issue with this characterization, despite “indefinitely” properly encompassing his announcement and the implications such restrictions have placed on Afghan women.

“A bad misunderstanding of my words by the New York Times,” Ghairat tweeted. “I haven't said that we will never allow women to attend universities or go to work, I meant that until we create an Islamic environment, women will have to stay at home. We work hard to creat [sic] safe Islamic environment soon.”

Though the Taliban have said women will still be able to work and receive an education, women have already been forced out of jobs around the country and encouraged to stay home.

Thousands have attempted to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban has taken over since the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Many of those attempting to flee are women and girls under severe threat of being kidnapped, sex trafficked, beaten and killed, as they are often prevented from socializing, being out in public alone or attending school.

Earlier this month, a small group of Afghan women activists with the Women's Political Participation Network held a protest outside of Afghanistan's Finance Ministry in Kabul calling for equal rights for women in the government and society.