The Taliban use water cannons against women protesting the education system in Afghanistan

The Taliban use water cannons against women protesting the education system in Afghanistan

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A group of women took to the streets in the Afghan city of Herat on Saturday, protesting against a Taliban order this week expelling all female students from attending university in the state.

Videos circulated on social media showed Taliban officials using a water cannon to disperse the female protesters.

Girls could be seen running from the water cannon and chanting “cowards” at the officers.

The Taliban’s announcement this week that it is suspension of university studies for female students was his latest step in continuing to curtail the freedoms of Afghan women.

The move came despite the group promising when it returned to power last year that it would respect women’s rights.

This follows a similar move in March this year which banned girls from returning to secondary schools.

University students across the country reacted to the latest tuition ban by boycotting their exams in protest.

“Education is the duty of men and women,” the Mirwais Nika Institute of Higher Education in Kandahar said in a statement released on Saturday. “This is the basic right and secret of the country’s development and self-confidence.”

The students first asked the Taliban to lift the ban, but “no positive response was given”, the school said, adding that “dissatisfaction and unhappiness” fueled the boycott.

A university official told CNN that the students’ decision to boycott their entrance exams will result in the suspension of classes.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021 in a lightning-quick takeover following the withdrawal of US troops who had previously ruled the country from 1996 to 2001 – when a US-led invasion forced the group from power.

During its previous period of rule, the group was known for treating women as second-class citizens.

Since taking power last year, the group has made numerous promises to protect the rights of women and girls.

But activists say the Taliban have reneged on their word and are steadily cutting back women’s freedoms.

On Saturday the band ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country to stop employees from going to work. Failure to comply will result in the NGO’s licenses being revoked, the ministry said in an official release.

A spokesperson told CNN that the move was due to non-compliance with Islamic dress codes and other laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate.

Afghan women can no longer work in most sectors.

Their rights to travel are also severely restricted and access to public places significantly restricted. Women are also required to cover themselves fully in public – including their faces.

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