Private university official detained by Taliban in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — Jawed Noorzad Kakar, the administrative deputy head of Roshan Afghanistan Online University, a private institution, has been detained by the Taliban in Kabul since Thursday, Jan. 11, sources report.

Kakar’s arrest is reportedly related to his involvement in providing online education to women and girls through the university.

The Taliban has yet to comment on Kakar’s detention.

Roshan Afghanistan Online University was established in December 2022, in response to the Taliban’s ban on women’s university education. It was founded with the support of Afghan and international academics. University officials claim they have enabled over 7,000 women and girls, who were denied educational opportunities, to receive free education.

The Taliban’s education policy permits girls to attend school only up to the sixth grade and excludes them from higher education in both schools and universities. In response, some individuals and organizations have begun offering online or hidden classes. Despite the limited scale of these efforts compared to the widespread educational deprivation faced by millions of girls, there is noticeable enthusiasm among female students for these lessons.

The Taliban has been arresting individuals involved in girls’ education, continuing a pattern of suppression.

Ignoring international and Muslim countries’ appeals to lift the ban on girls’ education, the Taliban regime insists on non-interference in its internal policies.

The Taliban has offered no explicit justification for continuing the education ban, simply stating adherence to “Islamic Sharia” as a regime priority. However, this stance is contrary to practices in other Muslim nations, where women and girls are not denied the right to work and education.