Taliban minister says women should not be in a hurry to get an education

Girls in Kapisa province, July, 2021. File photo.

The Taliban’s acting Minister of Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadim, said Thursday that girls and women in Afghanistan should not be in a hurry to get an education as their rights will be ensured.

In an interview with RTA, a state run media organization under the Taliban, Nadim said the Taliban will not accept the demands of the international community regarding the education of girls and women.

“We don’t accept the world’s demand. They want to change the Afghan women and girls into women and girls of the world,” he said.

He also stressed that religious clerics, university lecturers and analysts should not voice their opinions about education for women and girls and that they should obey the Taliban’s decision.

While implying that women and girls will be educated, he did not give details nor did he give a timeline. 

“As a Muslim sister, all the rights that they have including financial and education rights and their dignity, this is our obligation to provide it for them. The issues which religion allows, we should ensure it for them but they should not be in a hurry,” Nadim noted.

However, Nadim’s remarks sparked strong reaction among  women’s rights activists and female students.

They voiced concerns, saying that the Taliban has not fulfilled its commitments which they verbalized – neither during their first regime nor since they regained control of the country in 2021.

“All of these, reminds us of the first time (Taliban regime), when we were waiting because of a temporary order until their government was overthrown by the US,” said Horria Musadiq, a women’s rights activist.

“They have promised many times but have not fulfilled [their promises]. It has been two years that they are saying schools and universities will be reopened but it didn’t happen,” said Mehri, a student.

The Taliban have coupled their strict restrictions on girls and women’s education with Sharia, an issue which has sparked strong reaction from the Muslim world including the Organization of Islamic Corporation (OIC).

An OIC delegation, which recently visited Afghanistan, met with several Taliban officials and stressed that education is an Islamic obligation for both men and women.