Gender segregation will also be enforced, he said. “We will not allow boys and girls to study together,” he said. “We will not allow co-education.”
Haqqani said the subjects being taught would also be reviewed. While he did not elaborate, he said he wanted graduates of Afghanistan’s universities to be competitive with university graduates in the rest of the world.
The Taliban, who subscribe to a strict interpretation of Islam, banned music and art during their previous time in power. This time around television has remained and news channels still show female presenters, but the Taliban messaging has been erratic.
In an interview on Afghanistan’s popular TOLO News, Taliban spokesman Syed Zekrullah Hashmi said last week that women should give birth and raise children.
While the Taliban have not ruled out the eventual participation of women in government, the spokesman said “it’s not necessary that women be in the cabinet.”
The recently announced government does not have a single female representative.
The Taliban seized power on August 15, the day they overran the capital of Kabul after capturing outlying provinces in a rapid military campaign. They initially promised inclusiveness and a general amnesty for their former opponents, but many Afghans remain deeply fearful of the new rulers.
The new higher education policy signals a change from the accepted practice before the Taliban takeover. Universities were co-ed, with men and women studying side by side, and female students did not have to abide by a dress code. However, the majority of female university students opted to wear headscarves in line with tradition.
In elementary and high schools, boys and girls were taught separately, even before the Taliban came to power. In high schools, girls had to wear tunics reaching to their knees and white headscarves, and jeans, makeup and jewellery were not permitted.
Meanwhile, the new Taliban government faces enormous economic challenges with regular warnings of an impending economic meltdown and a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations warns 97 per cent of Afghans could be living below the poverty line by the end of the year.
Thousands of desperate Afghans wait daily outside Afghanistan’s banks for hours to withdraw money. In recent days, the Taliban appear to have been trying to establish an organised system for allowing customers to withdraw funds, but it rapidly deteriorates into stick waving as crowds surge toward the bank gates.
Outside the New Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s first private bank established in 2004, nearly 2000 people demanded their money on Sunday.
For Zaidullah Mashwani, Sunday was the third day he had come to the bank. Each night the Taliban make a list of eligible customers the next day and each morning Mashwani said a whole new list is presented.
“This is our money. The people have the right to have it,” he said. “No one has money. The Taliban government needs to do something so we can get our money.”
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