India expresses concern over Taliban banning higher education for Afghan women

In March, the Taliban barred girls from going to secondary schools.

December 22, 2022 06:13 pm | Updated December 23, 2022 10:32 am IST - New Delhi

Taliban security personnel stand guard at the entrance gate of a university in Jalalabad on December 21, 2022.

Taliban security personnel stand guard at the entrance gate of a university in Jalalabad on December 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

India on Thursday expressed “concern” over the decree issued by the Taliban banning university education for women in Afghanistan.

It reminded the Taliban about the UN Security Council Resolution 2593 that had called for upholding of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Also read: Taliban says women banned from universities in Afghanistan

“India has consistently supported the cause of women education in Afghanistan. We have emphasised the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures the equal rights of women and girls to participate in all aspects of Afghan society, including access to higher education,” official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said. 

The Taliban’s policy regarding women has been a matter of concern for the international community ever since the outfit returned to power after replacing the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan through a military takeover in August 2021. The latest decree denying higher education for women drew almost an immediate response from some countries, including Saudi Arabia, which expressed “astonishment and regret”.

India is among a handful of major powers that have engaged the Taliban without granting it formal recognition. New Delhi sent a “technical team” to the embassy in Kabul a few months ago but has not elevated its status to that of a normal mission. 

Taliban’s Minister for Urban Development Hamdullah Nomani met the head of the Indian technical team, Bharat Kumar, earlier this month and requested restarting of a number of India-funded projects.

The Taliban also sought India’s investment in the Afghan economy. However, soon after that meeting, the Taliban carried out the public execution of a man who was accused of committing a murder in Farah in western Afghanistan.

The Taliban have consistently downgraded the position of women in the Afghan society since taking power for the second time in the last 26 years. Soon after taking over power last year, they had asked many women employees of the Government of President Ashraf Ghani to resign. That order prompted many women to leave Afghanistan.

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