KABUL (Dispatches) – Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at the postgraduate level, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and head coverings will be compulsory.
Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani laid out the new policies at a news conference on Sunday, a day after the Taliban raised their flag over the presidential palace, signaling the start of work of the new, all-male government announced last week.
“We have no problems in ending the mixed-education system,” he said.
“The people are Muslims and they will accept it.”
The Taliban had already pledged to rule differently compared to their first stint in power, when girls and women were banned from education.
Earlier this month, the Taliban said Afghans could continue their higher education in under the Sharia law in safety without being in a mixed male and female environment – or at least divided by a curtain.
As for the women’s rights to education, they also said girls have no problem in going to school and women will also have access to education providing that they wear Islamic hijab.
Haqqani also said Afghanistan’s education system had changed considerably since the Taliban’s last time in power, adding that the number of educational institutions had increased dramatically.
Meanwhile, Afghan police officers returned to work alongside Taliban security at the Kabul airport, as the international airfield is resuming operations following the hasty withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Afghan police had abandoned their posts after the Taliban took power last month. But the Taliban have granted a general amnesty to everyone who worked for the former government — including the army, police and other security branches.
Two officers said they had returned to work after receiving calls from Taliban commanders on Saturday.
“I came back to work yesterday more than two weeks after being sent home,” one of the police officers told AFP on condition of anonymity on Sunday.
“I received a call from a senior Taliban commander who asked me to come back,” another officer said. “Yesterday was great, so happy to serve again.”
Border police members also deployed at several checkpoints outside the main buildings of the airport, including the domestic terminal.
An airport employee also confirmed that the border police had been deployed around the airport since Saturday. “They are sharing the security with the Taliban,” he told AFP.