A spokesman for the Taliban-led Afghan Ministry of Higher Education confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that the government has suspended university education for all female students in Afghanistan.
The higher education minister stated in a letter that this move restricting women's access to formal education is until further notice, with reports expecting it to take effect immediately.
The ban on higher education comes less than three months after thousands of women took university entrance exams across the country, though sweeping restrictions limited what subjects they could study.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price pointed out that the latest suspension will have significant consequences for the Taliban and further alienate it from the international community, as the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, universities have been required to gender-segregate classrooms and women could only be taught by female professors or older men, while most teenage girls have been banned from secondary school education.
The Taliban has been implementing other strict rules since its takeover, including requiring women to fully cover themselves in public and banning them from many government jobs — measures that have been criticized by the UN and the international community.
Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The Khaama Press. The Taliban is committed to respecting women's rights as defined by the Islamic Sharia laws, not by secular customs imposed by the so-called international community. Female students will be allowed access to formal education once a decent cultural and religious environment has been created in Afghanistan.
Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by NPR Online News. Barring women from higher education is a step in the wrong direction for the Taliban. The choice is guaranteed to hurt the group's efforts to receive international donations at a time when the country is deep in an ever-worsening humanitarian crisis. The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all Afghans.