The Taliban continued their brutal crackdown on women's rights on December 20, when they banned women from attending universities and receiving higher education in Afghanistan. Since that decision, over 60 academics within the country have resigned in protest.
Baktash Amini resigned from his "dream job" on December 21, the day after the Taliban handed down their ruling. The former physics professor at Kabul University told The Guardian that the distress of his students swayed his decision.
“The night [the] Taliban closed the doors of universities to Afghan women, I received many messages and calls from my students," Amini said. "I cannot find the words to describe their situation. I am an academic and the only way I could express protest was by [leaving] a system that discriminates against women."
The ban was just the latest among regulations against women in education, according to former urban development lecturer at Kabul Polytechnic University Abdul Raqib Ekleel, as classrooms were already segregated by gender, and women were required male guardians accompanying them to attend lectures.
“In the last year and half, the Taliban have made many irrational demands on female students, such as regulating their clothes, hijab, separate classes, being accompanied by mahram [legal male guardian] and the students have obliged with all of them," Ekleel said. "Every professor conducted the same lectures twice every week, once for the male and then for female. Despite that, the Taliban still banned the women."
Ekleel, who also resigned from his position following the ban, explained his decision: “These bans are against Islamic values and against national interest. It impacts everyone, not just the women. I could not be part of such a system,”
Hundreds of students have also walked out alongside educators, demanding women be allowed back into higher education. Similar protests were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, and Ghazni, with men chanting “all or none."
Another instructor at Kabul University, Ismail Mashal, went viral online in a clip where he tore up his degree and education documents on national television.
University lecturer Ismail Mashal, says in Dari: “If my sister and my mother can’t study, then I do not accept this education." #Afghanistan #education
“If my sister and my mother cannot study, then I don't accept this education," he said. "Here you go, I am tearing my original documents. I was a lecturer and I taught [students], but this country is no longer a place for education."
Mashal added: “Until you allow my sister and mother [back into universities], I will not teach.”
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