Kabul University shuts down amid Taliban ban on coeducation
Classes at Kabul University were canceled on Wednesday amid the Taliban’s ban on coeducational classes, which only allows women to attend school if they wear traditional Islamic garb and remain separated from their male peers.
The Kabul University campus, which is usually busy with activity, was empty, according to The Washington Post. Classes were suspended, with only male staff members permitted to enter the campus to conduct research or complete other office duties.
The school’s closure comes after the Taliban’s new minister of higher education earlier this month said that women will be allowed to attend university, but only in gender-segregated classrooms.
Abdul Baqi Haqqani said Afghanistan “will not allow boys and girls to study together,” adding that the country “will not allow coeducation.”
Haqqani also said that women would be required to adhere to a strict dress code, which includes hijabs.
The higher education minister has at times called into question the significance of university, according to the Post, recognizing that the Taliban members who recently assumed leadership roles have been successful despite never receiving academic degrees.
Senior government spokesman Bilal Karimi told the Post that officials were “working on a comprehensive plan to ensure a peaceful environment for female students.”
Once that plan is complete, Karimi said “they would be allowed to continue their education.”
The new policy is raising concerns among Afghans over the Taliban’s government after it seized control of the country following the U.S. troop withdrawal, especially when it comes to the treatment of women. Some are worried that the group will resort back to the harsh policies implemented in the late 1990s, when the Taliban last controlled Afghanistan.
Haqqani earlier this month said the Taliban were not seeking to turn back time to 20 years prior, saying, “We will start building on what’s today.”
Kabul University was founded in 1932 before being deserted during the 1990s amid the civil war in Afghanistan, which included the Taliban’s takeover, according to the Post.
After the Taliban government was toppled in 2001, however, the university was slowly restored, which reportedly received immense support from U.S. donations.