Women in Afghanistan will be permitted to pursue higher education in universities, but will have to adhere to Islamic dress code and gender segregation, the new education minister of the Taliban government said on Sunday, 12 September.
Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani, at a press conference in Kabul, said that female students in educational institutions will be taught solely by women teachers, and that the classrooms will remain segregated on the lines of gender, as per the Taliban's implementation of the Sharia law.
“We will not allow co-education,” he was quoted as saying by news agency AP. The minister also indicated that the subjects being taught in the universities will be reviewed.
Haqqani further stated that the newly-instated Taliban government did not wish to turn the clock back by 20 years, when the militant organisation had last been in power, and that it would "start building the country on what exists today," news agency Reuters reported.
Women Can't Play Sports, Be Ministers: Taliban
Hardline Islamist group Taliban had seized power in Afghanistan on 15 August, giving rise to fears of severe restrictions being imposed on women.
When the Taliban occupied Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, girls had not been allowed to enter schools or universities. Women could not step out of their homes without a male relative to escort them, and were required to cover their face at all times.
While the Taliban has promised that its new regime will be more inclusive, certain decisions made by its administration seem to suggest otherwise.
Stating that women in Afghanistan are banned from playing sports, Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, in an interview to SBS News on Wednesday, said:
"I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket. In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this."
Days after it announced its all-male Cabinet, Taliban spokesperson Sayed Zekrullah Hashimi, in an interview with TOLOnews on Friday, said, "A woman can't be a minister, it is like you put something on her neck that she can't carry. It is not necessary for women to be in the cabinet – they should give birth."
(With inputs from AP, Reuters, and TOLOnews.)