Pakistan urged the interim government to reconsider the decision on Wednesday, joining the rest of the world in expressing worry over the Afghan Taliban’s decision to suspend university and higher education for female students.
The Foreign Office response, nevertheless, refrained from outright condemning a move that would undoubtedly reduce the Afghan Taliban’s chances of receiving any kind of official international recognition.
In a carefully worded statement, the Foreign Office stated that “Pakistan is disappointed to learn about the suspension of the university and higher education for female students in Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan has maintained a consistent and clear stand on this matter. According to the dictates of Islam, we firmly believe that every man and woman has an inherent right to education. “We strongly urge the Afghan authorities to revisit this decision,” the statement concluded.
A senior official, who deals with the matter, said the decision was certainly “shocking” and contrary to the commitments made by the Afghan Taliban with the international community.
“We are very clear on this. Our stance is aligned with the international community,” the official added while requesting anonymity.
After the US withdrew its forces from the neighboring nation, Pakistan has been a vocal supporter of continuing dialogue with the Afghan Taliban. The interim Afghan government’s most recent action, however, will restrict Pakistan’s options.
According to the official, the majority of the Afghan interim government’s cabinet members support female education and the rights of girls. However, the harsh approach was adopted by the Afghan Taliban leadership.
According to Reuters, the United Nations and other foreign countries have denounced the decision to prevent women from attending the classes, which was made public on Tuesday evening in a letter to colleges from the higher education ministry.
“We went to university, the Taliban were at the gate and told us ‘you are not allowed to enter the university until further notice’ … everyone was crying,” said Shaista, a business studies student at a private university in Kabul.
Female students were turned away at the gate, according to a professor at a different Kabul institution who declined to be named, because staff members had no choice but to follow the directive.
The Taliban administration’s efforts to win international legitimacy and lift sanctions that are seriously harming the economy are likely to be complicated by the ban on women students.
The Taliban-run government was ordered to “quickly” reverse the choice, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
Additionally, it asked the authorities to “stop all measures barring women and girls from fully participating in daily public life” and to restore girls’ schools after the sixth grade.
Hassiba, a third-year political science student from Kabul, claimed that she was concentrating on her examinations when she learned of the announcement.
“It’s too hard to accept, it’s unbelievable, I can’t believe it’s happening,” she said. “When there is no education for women in a society, how can we be hopeful for a bright future?”
According to the late Tuesday announcement, the decision was made by the Taliban administration’s cabinet.
The Taliban leadership have said they want peaceful relations with the international community but that foreigners should not interfere in domestic affairs.
Most girls are unable to go to school beyond primary classes. The Taliban administration has said it is working on a plan for girls’ secondary education but has not given a time frame.
The administration made a surprise U-Turn on signals it would open all high-schools for girls in March.