KABUL: After the Taliban ordered an indefinite ban on university education for Afghan girls, several humanitarian organizations, including Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a United Nations global, billion-dollar fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises called the Taliban authorities in Kabul to revoke their decision to suspend the university education of Afghan women.
According to Khaama Press, the ECW called on the interim Taliban government to allow all girls to return to education, saying that the UN-led humanitarian body stands in solidarity with women in Afghanistan and added that each one has an inherent human right to education.
"Education Cannot Wait stands in solidarity with every girl and woman in Afghanistan. Each one has an inherent human right to education. We also stand in solidarity with every Afghan father, brother, husband and son, suffering the pain of seeing their daughter, sister, wife and mother brutally denied their right to an education," Khaama Press reported citing the statement of ECW.
"Education and knowledge are cornerstones of the teachings of Islam, cornerstones of an enlightened society, and cornerstones of peace, economic prosperity, and progress everywhere. Girls and women who are guaranteed their human rights - especially their right to seek knowledge - are the backbone of a greater society arising out of war and poverty," the statement added.
Following the announcement by Afghanistan's interim regime's acting minister of higher education of a ban on university education for Afghan girls, condemnations continue to pour in from governments and organizations one after the other from all across the world.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 and imposed policies severely restricting basic rights--particularly those of women and girls, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The Islamic group dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary schools.
Furthermore, the European Union on Wednesday condemned the decision of the Taliban (sanctioned by the UN for terrorism) to impose a ban on higher education for Afghan women.
"The EU strongly condemns the Taliban's decision to suspend higher education for Afghan women. A unique move in the world that violates rights and aspirations of Afghans and deprives #Afghanistan of women's contributions to society," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted.
Calling the ban on University education for Afghan women by the Taliban a "disaster," Nilofar Bayat, former captain of Afghanistan's wheelchair basketball team and a two-time war victim, said that the next step will be that women are not allowed to breathe or exist in the society.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Nilofar, who fled from Afghanistan after the Taliban came into power, said, "Unfortunately, the Taliban said that women are not allowed to go to universities and we saw that girls couldn't enter the Universities. It is almost one and a half years that schools are closed for girls and now it's time for universities and girls aren't allowed to go to universities."
"This is a disaster. I feel that with these kinds of restrictions, we see they are pushing women, tightening everything, the next plan for women in Afghanistan will be to not breathe, and the next plan by the Taliban for women will be that women are not allowed to exist or live in this society. Because every day they are adding new rules, and new restrictions and women are no more a part of the society in Afghanistan," Nilofar added.
According to a UNICEF report released in August, the fact that girls in Afghanistan are deprived of secondary education has cost the country's economy at least USD 500 million over the past 12 months, which amounts to 2.5 per cent of GDP.
Since 15 August 2021, the de facto authorities have barred girls from attending secondary school, restricted women and girls' freedom of movement, excluded women from most areas of the workforce and banned women from using parks, gyms and public bath houses. These restrictions culminate with the confinement of Afghan women and girls to the four walls of their homes.