Ban on women's education is a colossal act of self-harm
Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

UN: Taliban ban on women education is a “colossal act of self-harm”

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has condemned the Taliban’s decision to prohibit millions of women and girls from accessing education, stating that it constitutes a violation of human rights and a massive act of self-harm. The UN calls upon the Taliban to reverse the restrictions and ensure that women’s rights are protected.

“In a month, schools and universities across #Afghanistan open their doors for a new academic year, but not to millions of women and girls,” the UN mission said in a tweet today.

The Taliban previously confined women to their homes during their first rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. After returning to power in August 2021, the group implemented a ban on girls attending secondary schools in September of the same year. In December 2022, the Taliban expanded its restrictions, prohibiting Afghan women and girls from accessing university education and from working for NGOs.

Despite significant pressure from human rights organizations, humanitarian aid providers, and Islamic countries to lift the bans, the Taliban has continued to impose further restrictions on women’s rights. In addition to the ban on education and working for NGOs, the group has prohibited Afghan women from visiting amusement parks, traveling without a mahram (male guardian), and attending public baths.

The Taliban’s most recent ban, imposed on 13 February, indefinitely postponed the exit exams for female medical students. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan has urged the Taliban to establish a new date for these exams to take place.