At approximately 1148 EST, a screenshot of an order from the Taliban Ministry of Education began to circulate online, reportedly showing the intent to ban women’s education in undergraduate and graduate level education. The Taliban has already banned secondary school education for young girls in the country since taking over in August of 2021. The order reads below:
The Former US envoy for Afghanistan Khalilzad was the first official to weigh in, calling the order “shocking and incomprehensible.”
The Qatari government was the first international body to pick up on the story and express its outrage by condemning the Taliban:
— ???????? ??????? (@MofaQatar_AR) December 20, 2022
This development comes the same day as the Taliban also released two American citizens as a sign of goodwill.
More than 3.6 million girls were enrolled by 2018 – more than 2.5 million in primary school and over 1 million in secondary. The increase in girls in secondary education was particularly marked, with nearly 40% enrolled in 2018 compared with 6% in 2003, according to the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. Now those numbers will fall to below the 2003 number if the Taliban is allowed to restrict their access to education.