Male medical students boycott exams in protest over Taliban’s university ban on women

A group of male medical students at Nangarhar University walked out of exams on Wednesday in protest against the Taliban’s ban on women getting a university education.

The protesting students called on the Taliban to reverse their decision and allow Afghan women to return to university.

Waving banners, some with slogans that read “All or Nothing”, the students walked out of the exam venue. They warned the Taliban that they will not write any exams until universities reopen for Afghan women.

One protestor who wished to remain anonymous told Amu TV that the Taliban move was “absolute cruelty. It was our final exam. They did not let us celebrate our graduation. What does the Taliban want, if they want ignorance, we will not let this matter continue. Today, here, tomorrow, we stand against them everywhere.”

Nangarhar female students also participated in the protest. They called on the Taliban government to reverse their decision and allow them to study.

A female student who wanted to be named only Gulalai urged the Taliban to “stop playing with their hopes and dreams” and allow female students to graduate.

The Taliban’s latest move – to ban women from getting a university education – has been met by outrage by the international community and members of the public in Afghanistan.

This move comes more than a year after the Taliban closed schools above Grade 6 for girls – a move that continues to draw strong condemnation.

Afghan social media users, meanwhile, condemned the Taliban’s latest move and called on the international community to put more pressure on the group in order to make them stop oppressing the Afghan people.

In addition to Nangarhar, female students in many other provinces of the country protested in response to this decision and asked the Taliban to overturn their decision.

A number of other provinces in Afghanistan also witnessed female protests opposing the Taliban’s decision.

Human Rights Watch said that the Taliban’s decision was “shameful” and that it violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban are making it clear every day that they don’t respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women,” the human rights watchdog said.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that Guterres was “deeply alarmed” by the Taliban’s decision, reiterating 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, Dujarric added.
The latest restrictions were put in place more than a year after the Taliban stopped Afghan girls, above Grade 6, from going to school, above Grade 6.