Students criticize Taliban for closure of girls’ education centers in Herat

A number of female students in Herat on Thursday criticized a recent move by the Taliban to close girls’ education centers in the province, saying such institutions were the last hope for them to pursue their studies.

Taliban’s vice and virtue office in Herat cited the presence of male teachers as the rationale behind the recent closures.

Zahra, a computer science student at a private university, experienced the closure of her institution by the Taliban. Subsequently, she sought enrollment in one of Herat’s educational centers, only to face closure again.

“They closed the courses (educational centers) again, and it is natural that girls will become depressed and anxious in such a situation,” said Zahra.

On Tuesday, the Taliban’s virtue and virtue office, or the moral police, in Herat announced the closure of education centers, specifically targeting English language and computer training centers for girls.

An education center in Herat that has been closed by the Taliban.

Some female students allege that the Taliban has issued explicit warnings, stating that attendance at these centers is not permitted. Maryam, a student, voiced her frustration, stating, “The courses were open, and I went there to learn English. But in these last few days, the courses have closed again, and we are forced to stay home again.”

Mina Ahmadi, a resident of Herat, reported discriminatory questioning by Taliban officials.

“They asked each student questions like how old you are or whether your teacher is currently a woman and will become a man later, things like that. As soon as they saw that this part was related to women, they expelled all the students from the classes,” she said.

The closure of educational centers for girls comes on top of the Taliban’s longstanding restrictions, enforcing the closure of all schools above the sixth grade for female students for over two years.

Additionally, it has been nearly a year since the shutdown of all educational centers for girls and the prohibition of women from working in non-governmental organizations — restrictions that persist despite global societal reactions.