Kabul: The United Nations has given confirmation that the Taliban have allowed women to enter colleges and universities in a post that welcomes the re-opening of universities in the conflict-ridden country. Places of higher education had been closed since the Taliban coup in September and fears that women would not be allowed to attend had persisted all the while.
"(The) U.N. welcomes the announcement that public universities will begin re-opening 2 February to all female and male students. So crucial that every young person has equal access to education," the UN mission to Afghanistan said in a tweet late on Tuesday.
A Reuters report claimed that one of its staff had spotted women being allowed to enter the government Nangarhar University in Jalalabad via a separate entrance.
The Taliban administration had not officially announced its plan for female university students, but education officials told Reuters women were permitted to attend classes on the proviso they were physically separated from male students.
An education official, who declined to be named, said that female students could attend universities and that the university administrations had been given options of segregating classrooms as well as staggering class hours to avoid mixing of genders.
Under its previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the hardline Islamist Taliban had barred women and girls from education. The group says it has changed since resuming power on August 15 as foreign forces withdrew, but has been vague on its plans and high school-aged girls in many provinces have still not been allowed to return to school. Some private universities have reopened, but in many cases female students have not been able to return to class.
Minister of Higher Education Abdul Baqi Haqqani had announced that men and women would be permitted to attend university but did not specify any reopening datem sk far warmer provinces in Afghanistan have opened up their higher education institutions while colder areas like Kabul are waiting out the winter.