Dozens of women staged a protest in Kabul on Thursday against the Taliban's order that banned female students from pursuing higher education, Tolo News reported. The protesters demanded women's access to education and work.
The women's protest comes after the Taliban on Tuesday announced the suspension of universities for female students. The protesters indicated that they will continue to hold protests until their demands are not met.
"Based on the statement of the Taliban, which they released yesterday, universities will be closed for an unknown period of time. We are protesting for this and we want to be the voice of the Afghan female students," Tolo News quoted Julia Parsi as saying. Another protester Basir Hossaini said, "We held the protest titled education for all, or education no one."
Taliban's decision has sparked reactions at national and international levels. Ahmad Rahman Alizada, a religious critic, said, that women have the right to study, learn and educate. "From the perspective of Islam, men and women have the right to study, learn and educate. It means they have the right to study and educate," Tolo News quoted Ahmad Rahman Alizada as saying.
The European Union on December 21 condemned the decision of the Taliban to impose a ban on higher education for Afghan women, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Josep Borrell tweeted, "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." On December 20, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is "deeply alarmed" by the Taliban's ban on women in universities. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said that Guterres has called on the Taliban to ensure equal access to education at all levels for women and girls. "The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by news reports that the Taliban have suspended access to universities to women and girls," Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
"The Secretary-General reiterates that the denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls but will have a devastating impact on the country's future. The Secretary-General urges the de facto authorities to ensure equal access to education at all levels for women and girls," he added. Earlier, the United States condemned in "the strongest terms" the Taliban's decision to ban university education for Afghan women and to keep secondary schools closed for girls. In a press briefing on December 20 (local time), US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price called education an "internationally recognized human right" and warned that the Taliban's "unacceptable stance" will have consequences for them. "The United States condemns, in the strongest terms, the Taliban's indefensible decision to ban women from universities, to keep secondary schools closed to girls, and to continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms," Ned Price said.