A Kabul University professor tore up his diplomas on live television, saying he did not need them anymore because Afghanistan was “no place for an education”.
Speaking to a television host, the professor, whose name could not immediately be verified, added: “If my sister and my mother can’t study, then I don’t accept this education.”
The video of the professor tearing up his diplomas one by one on TV has gone viral on social media and was shared widely.
Former policy advisor to the minister for Afghan resettlement and minister for refugees Shabnam Nasimi shared the video on Twitter and wrote: “Astonishing scenes as a Kabul university professor destroys his diplomas on live TV in Afghanistan.”
Ms Nasimi currently works as executive director of Conservative Friends of Afghanistan which focuses on promoting understanding and support for Afghanistan in the United Kingdom.
Last week, the Taliban banned university education for women across Afghanistan, in a move that was globally criticised. “The Taliban have used barbed wire and armed guards to prevent Afghan women from entering universities. Yet, despite the intimidation, they protest alongside brave Afghan men, demanding women and girls be given their basic rights,” BBC journalist Yalda Hakim wrote at the time.
Following a meeting of the Taliban government, universities were instructed in a letter – confirmed by the regime’s higher education ministry – to suspend female students’ access immediately until further notice, in accordance with a cabinet decision.
“You all are informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending the education of females until further notice,” minister for higher education Neda Mohammad Nadeem said in a letter to all government and private universities in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, on live television, the Kabul university professor appeared to be tearing up as he picked up his degree certificates and diplomas and tore them one by one. He was speaking in the native Pashtu and his voice quivered as he spoke with the anchor.
One social media commentator said: “Massive respect for this professor for standing in solidarity for Women’s education. Brava.”
Another user wrote: “Such a courageous man! Powerful and beyond heartbreaking! I hope he and his family will remain safe being so openly defiant against the despicable Taliban… His utter despair is palpable.” Another one added: “They need more men to speak out!!”
The Taliban’s decision to ban women’s access to work and education has triggered global criticism and condemnation.
The UN deputy humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan Fran Equiza, in a meeting with acting minister of public health Qalandar Ibad, also called for “the Taliban ban on women working for NGOs and international NGOs to be lifted in its entirety”.
She added that the “ban will impact millions of the most vulnerable Afghans”.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken in a tweet said that “this decision could be devastating for the Afghan people, women are central to humanitarian operations around the world”.
US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said: “The Taliban’s decree barring women from working to deliver humanitarian aid is profoundly irresponsible. It poses mortal risks to millions who depend on life-saving assistance.”