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Near empty universities in Kabul on first day of Afghan school year

Near empty universities in Kabul on first day of Afghan school year
The Taliban has mandated that women university students need to dress in abaya and niqab

Classrooms remained deserted at the Aceitar university on the first day of Afghanistan’s academic year, amid fear and uncertainty over fate of students, especially women, under the hardline rule of the Taliban.

The ultra conservative and religious group has allowed women to continue their education and attend universities in its regime this time but has imposed several restrictions.

It has asked women to dress in an abaya robe covering the whole body and a face veil or niqab. The Taliban has also asked for students to be separated in the classroom on the basis of their gender.

The rules passed by the Islamist militant group have not been accepted by some.

The director of the Gharjistan university in Kabul, who saw a near-empty campus on Monday, said that the rules are difficult to implement and do not originate from any Islamic religious textbook.

“Our students don’t accept this and we will have to close the university. Our students wear the hijab (Islamic headscarf), not the niqab,” Noor Ali Rahmani told AFP.

Under the new rules issued by the Taliban for private universities and colleges, women and men should be segregated in a classroom under all circumstances. So if a class has less than 15 students, it should be segregated by a curtain.

Women will only be taught by other women or “old men” and will enter the university and classrooms via an entry point designated for them, the Taliban has dictated.

The class for women will end five minutes earlier than those for men so that they cannot mingle or interact outside.

Mr Rahmani has also opposed the segregation clause dictated by the Taliban.

“We said we didn’t accept it because it will be difficult to do. We also said that it is not real Islam, it is not what the Quran says," ele disse.

The varsity director said roughly 10 para 20 per cent of the 10,000 students enrolled in the university showed up on Monday, even though no classes were slotted for the day.

Several teachers are now looking at “brain drain” in the country, which could prove to be a loss for the growth of Afghanistan.

The Independent has launched a petition urging the UK government to be more ambitious in its plans to take in Afghan refugees following the Taliban seizing power and withdrawal of western troops.

Afghans are now facing a similar plight. You, our readers, have already shown your strength of feeling in letters and on social media. Here’s a chance to have your voice heard by adding your signature. We thank you for your support. To sign the petition click here