Updated Dec 21, 2022, 3:01pm EST
Middle East

Male students walk out of classrooms to protest Taliban’s ban on women attending university


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The Videos

A day after the Taliban announced that Afghan women will no longer be able to attend university, videos circulating online showed male students in some universities in Kandahar and Nangarhar walking out of classrooms and protesting on campuses in solidarity with their female classmates.

According to Afghan news site Pamir News, some male professors have also resigned in protest.

Another video shared on Twitter appeared to show a classroom full of women breaking down in tears after hearing that they would be losing their education.

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Step Back

The new order to bar women from university education was announced by the Afghan ministry of education on Tuesday and would be effective immediately, authorities said.

According to human rights groups, the move is expected to further restrict women’s ability to secure jobs and participate in other aspects of public life.

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The View From the United Nations

Sima Bahous, executive director of the United Nations, said Wednesday that the ban was a “comprehensive onslaught” on women’s rights in Afghanistan and “yet another blatant curtailment of their fundamental rights.”

“Women have always played a key role in shaping Afghanistan’s development, and in supporting its peace, security and resilience,” she said.

“In the face of incredible challenges, Afghan women have continued to go to university. These institutions were some of the last places where they could come together and continue to learn. To end women’s higher education is to ignore their historical contributions and sever them from their future potential and the potential of their country.”

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Malala Yousafzai said in a tweet Wednesday:

The Taliban may lock all the classrooms and university gates in the country — but they can never lock up women’s minds. They cannot stop girls from seeking knowledge. They cannot kill the quest to learn.