12 Foreign Ministers: Taliban Are Further Isolating Themselves

In a joint statement, 12 foreign ministers and the EU’s High Representative have collectively reacted against the Taliban’s indefinite ban on women’s education. They noted that the Taliban are “further isolating themselves” with these moves.

The joint statement was released by the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the High Representative of the European Union on Wednesday, December 21.

“The Taliban’s oppressive measures against Afghan girls and women have been relentless and systemic,” the statement said, condemning the Taliban’s ban on women’s education and restricting other basic human rights of women in Afghanistan.

Over the past 16 months, the foreign ministers noted that the Taliban have issued “no fewer than 16 decrees and edicts” that constrain women’s freedom of movement and basic human rights.

“With these moves, the Taliban are further isolating themselves from the Afghan population and the international community,” part of the statement read.

These foreign ministers urged the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan to “immediately abandon the new oppressive measures” against women’s university education and to, without delay, reverse the existing decision prohibiting girls from secondary schools.

“Taliban policies designed to erase women from public life will have consequences for how our countries engage with the Taliban,” the foreign ministers warned.

The Taliban’s ban on university education for women has ignited strong reactions inside and outside Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, December 20, the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education instructed all government and private universities that higher education is banned for women until further notice.

After the group returned to power in August 2021, it banned secondary education for girls in March 2021.