When the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, the majority of secondary schools for girls and all public institutions were closed, raising fears that women would be denied access to higher education, as they had been under the Taliban’s first rule, which lasted from 1996 to 2001.
“It’s a happy moment for us that our classes have begun,” said Zarlashta Haqmal, a Nangarhar University student studying law and political science.
However, she told AFP that she was still concerned that the Taliban would prevent them from completing their mission.
According to Reuters, Khalil Ahmad Bihsudwal, the president of Nangarhar University, said male and female students at the university would attend separate classes, a system that is already in effect in many districts across Afghanistan.
According to officials, universities in the warmer provinces of Lachman, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Nimrud, Farah, and Helmand opened their doors on Wednesday, according to officials. Higher education schools in colder climates, like Kabul, are scheduled to begin classes on February 26.
Early on Wednesday morning, an AFP correspondent observed only six women entering Lehman University, all of whom were dressed in the all-covering burqa.
A Taliban fighter stood guard at the entrance with a tripod-mounted machine gun perched on a boom gate in front of the building.
A member of staff stated that classes would be divided, with women being taught in the mornings and men being taught in the afternoons.
Reuters reported that while the Taliban administration had not formally revealed its plan for female university students, education officials told the news agency that women were permitted to attend classes under the condition that they were kept physically isolated from their male counterparts.
The admission of female students in the country’s public colleges was praised by the United Nations late on Tuesday, a move that appeared to be an indication of formal confirmation.
“[The] United Nations (UN) expresses its delight at the declaration that public universities would reopen to all students on February 2nd, regardless of gender. It is critical that every young person has equal access to educational opportunities, and “Late on Tuesday, the UN mission in Afghanistan declared in a tweet that it will assist the children, while Special Representative Deborah Lyons asked for their support.
Several universities were reopened on Wednesday, a week after a Taliban team met with Western officials in Norway, where they were pressured to improve the rights of women in order to liberate billions of dollars in frozen assets and foreign funding that had been halted.
A humanitarian crisis has erupted in Afghanistan as a result of the cessation of aid, which has already been destroyed by decades of conflict.
No country has yet to recognize the new Taliban leadership, which has promised a more tolerant version of the harsh rule that characterized their first tenure in power, despite international pressure.
Women have been subjected to a number of limitations by the dictatorship, including being barred from holding various official positions.