The Taliban’s Ministry of Education has announced that it will allow girls to continue their studies in schools from sixth grade and below. This decision comes a few weeks after the ministry imposed a ban on university education for women, drawing condemnation from the international community, including Muslim-majority countries.
Initially, the Taliban had promised a more moderate approach to respecting the rights of women and minorities, however, since seizing control of the country in August 2021, they have implemented strict interpretations of Islamic law, banning girls from middle and high school, restricting women’s employment and ordering them to wear full-body covering in public. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch have criticized these actions as a violation of women’s rights.
Foreign governments have also expressed their disappointment, with the G7 group of countries and other Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey, Qatar, and Pakistan calling for the ban to be withdrawn or reconsidered. The Minister of Higher Education in the Taliban government has defended the ban, stating that it is meant to prevent the mixing of genders in universities and to safeguard the principles of Islam. The minister has also urged foreign countries to refrain from interfering in Afghanistan’ internal affairs.