The higher education minister in the new Taliban government says women can study in universities, including at postgraduate levels, but that classrooms will be gender-segregated and that Islamic dress is compulsory. Abdul Baqi Haqqani laid out the new policies at a news conference Sunday, several days after Afghanistan’s new rulers formed an all-male, all-Taliban government. Haqqani said female university students would be required to wear a hijab but did not elaborate on whether this only meant a compulsory headscarf or mandatory face coverings. The Taliban have suggested they have changed, including in their attitudes toward women. However, they have used violence in recent days against women protesters demanding equal rights. Haqqani said the Taliban did not want to turn the clock back 20 years. “We will start building on what exists today,” he said.
The Taliban will impose certain restrictions on women.
However, female university students will face restrictions under the Taliban, including a compulsory dress code. Haqqani said hijabs would be mandatory but did not specify if this meant compulsory headscarves or compulsory face coverings. Taliban will also enforce gender segregation, he said. “We will not allow boys and girls to study together,” he said. “We will not allow co-education”. Haqqani said the subjects being taught in universities would also be reviewed but did not elaborate. The Taliban, who subscribe to a harsh interpretation of Islam, have banned music and art during their last power. Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including postgraduate levels. Still, classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the higher education minister in the new Taliban government said Sunday.
However, Afghan women wearing full-face veils sat in rows at a Kabul university lecture theatre Saturday, pledging commitment to the Taliban’s hardline policies on gender segregation. About 300 women — covered head-to-toe following strict new dress policies for education — waved Taliban flags as speakers railed against the West and expressed support for the Islamists’ policies.