Women in Afghanistan have not only been deprived of a university education in their own country but are now being stopped from studying abroad as the Taliban refuses to issue them with graduation certificates.
A number of women in the northern province of Balkh told Amu that they want to continue their university studies abroad but that the Taliban has stopped distributing university graduation certificates to women; thereby preventing them from applying for foreign scholarships.
Habiba, 24, who graduated from the Economics Faculty of Balkh University, said that she wants to pursue her studies at a European university, but she is not able to apply for a scholarship as she has not received her graduation certificate for her bachelor’s degree.
“If I don’t receive my graduation documents within a month, I will miss the opportunity to study on the scholarship [abroad]. When I visited the university [to process my graduation documents], the security guard told me that no girl is allowed to enter the university,” she said.
Zahra, who has done her bachelors in journalism at a private university in Balkh, said: “Although there was not much work left to get my degree, the new order of the Taliban caused the process of my degree to remain incomplete. I could not manage to obtain my certificate because male and female timings were separated and we were allowed to visit the university on girls’ time only. And now they don’t allow me to enter at all.”
A professor at Balkh University, who wished to remain anonymous, told Amu TV that Balkh University issues academic certificates for male students only and that “until now, no graduation certificates for girls have been processed in Balkh University.”
On December 20, 2022, the Taliban ordered public and private universities across Afghanistan to suspend female students’ access to higher education, which sparked condemnation by the international community.
Four days later the group banned Afghan women from working for non-government organizations (NGOs) as well.
Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Vedant Patel, meanwhile, said on Thursday that if the Taliban wants to earn legitimacy then “they will need to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms to all Afghans, not just occasionally.”
“The Taliban’s policies towards women and girls are an affront to human rights, and as long as the Taliban repress women and girls, the Taliban’s relations with the international community are going to suffer,” Patel said.