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Partition Put In Afghan Classrooms Separating Female & Male Students After Taliban Mandate

Partitions appeared in classrooms of Kabul University on Monday separated female students from their male counterparts, following the new mandate of Taliban

Afghanistan, women, Taliban

IMAGE: Twitter/AP

In a step back for Afghan women, partitions appeared in classrooms of Kabul University on Monday separated female students from their male counterparts, following the new mandate of Taliban. Slipping back to the hardline governance the terror group ruled with in 1996, visuals from universities in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat show women either segregated via partitions in classrooms or being taught separately. The Taliban is poised to announce its new government soon amid disputes with the Haqqani faction.

Taking to Twitter, Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yosafzai's father Ziauddin Yosafzai condemned the move saying, "If the male teacher who teaches this class divided on the basis of gender discrimination is non-Mahram (Mahram - member of one's family with whom marriage would be considered haram) for the girls, how are the boys Mahram?. This outdated and ridiculous class won't last long". Yosafzai himself is a teacher and is involved in promoting girls' education in Pakistan.

Taliban's mandate for women

As per the new instructions issued by the Taliban's Ministry of Higher Education, which is applicable to private colleges and universities:

  • Women attending universities must wear an abaya, or robe, and niqab, or burqa
  • Women will be taught by women, but if none are available then 'old men' of good character can step in
  • Men and women must be separated in a co-ed classroom, if necessary by a curtain
  • Men and women should use separate entrances and exits and women must also end their lesson five minutes earlier than men, go to a waiting room before being accompanied to home by a male relative.

Meanwhile, women are protesting across Afghanistan, seeking inclusion in the new administration and no curbs on women's freedoms. With several countries raising concerns on women's freedom in Afghanistan, the terror group's spokesperson  Suhail Shaheen said women are totally safe in Afghanistan; however, he does not support women getting an education without a hijab. He asked the United States to refrain from imposing its views on Afghanistan as that would be regarded as interfering with the country's "culture". 

The Taliban had taken control of Afghanistan in 1996- 2001, enforcing harsh conditions and rules following their strict interpretation of Islamic law. Under their rule, women had to cover themselves and only leave the house in the company of a male relative. The Taliban also banned girls from attending school, women from working outside their homes and from voting. With the US troop withdrawal after 20 years, the Taliban has defeated Panjshir resistance to claim full control in Afghanistan. 

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