Taliban: Women can study in gender-segregated universities
Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the Taliban government's new higher education minister said on Sept. 12.
The announcement came as a Taliban official said Qatar's foreign minister arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul, the highest level visitor since the Taliban announced their interim Cabinet. There was no immediate confirmation of the visit by Qatari officials.
Earlier on Sept. 12, the higher education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference, several days after Afghanistan's new rulers formed an all-male government. On Sept. 11, the Taliban had raised their flag over the presidential palace, signaling the start of the work of the new government.
The world has been watching closely to see to what extent the Taliban might act differently from their first time in power, in the late 1990s. During that era, girls and women were denied an education, and were excluded from public life.
The Taliban have suggested they have changed, including in their attitudes toward women. However, women have been banned from sports and the Taliban 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.
However, female university students will face restrictions, including a compulsory dress code. Haqqani said hijabs will be mandatory but did not specify if this meant compulsory headscarves or also compulsory face coverings.
Gender segregation will also be enforced, he said. "We will not allow boys and girls to study...