Afghanistan’s 35 private universities staring at imminent closure - reports

At least 35 private universities in Afghanistan are at the risk of shutting down amid growing resistance from the Taliban towards education of girls and women, officials from the union of these private institutions have said.

The union’s media officer Mohammad Karim Nasiri said that the economic challenges have “surged widely”, adding that 30-35 universities are facing major economic problems, reported Afghanistan’s television news channel Tolo.

Banning women from entering schools and colleges will mean reduction in fees paid to these institutions, leading to an economic crisis for educational bodies at a time Afghanistan’s economy has slowed after the Islamist insurgents took charge of the administration.

Many other higher education institutions will have to be closed due to depleting financial support in the absence of female students, some owners of the universities said, the report added.

Azizullah Amir, founder of the Mura educational centre, confirmed the financial headwinds impacting the country.

“There is no man at this educational centre. If the implementation of this order continues, we will be obliged to close the doors of this centre,” he told Tolo news.

Enayatullah Khalil Hadaf, the deputy head of Dawat university, said he is hoping for the universities to reopen and allow other students to continue their education.

Afghanistan has effectively shut down all avenues of education and work for women, in addition to curbing their movement in public spaces if not accompanied by a male guardian, taking the south Asian nation back to their previous hardline Islamist rule.

The Taliban has also allowed public execution, flogging and stoning of people found guilty of gay sex, adultery, crimes and theft despite international condemnation of its rogue rules.

On Thursday, the G7 leaders called on the Taliban to urgently reverse its decision of banning women from working.

The coalition said that it is “gravely concerned that the Taliban’s reckless and dangerous order barring female employees of national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the workplace puts at risk millions of Afghans who depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival.”

“The Taliban continue to demonstrate their contempt for the rights, freedoms, and welfare of the Afghan people, particularly women and girls, and their disinterest in normal relations with the international community,” the statement issued by Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the High Representative of the European Union said.

The nations have pointed out that the women are key to the humanitarian and basic needs operations in the country.

“Unless they participate in aid delivery in Afghanistan, NGOs will be unable to reach the country’s most vulnerable people to provide food, medicine, winterisation, and other materials and services they need to live,” the G7 said.