Women will no longer be allowed to attend classes or work at Kabul University "until an Islamic environment is created," the school's new Taliban-appointed chancellor has announced.
"As long as real Islamic environment is not provided for all, women will not be allowed to come to universities or work. Islam first," Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat said in a tweet on Monday, reported CNN. The new university policy echoes the Taliban's first time in power, in the 1990s, when women were only allowed in public if accompanied by a male relative and would be beaten for disobeying, and were kept from school entirely.
According to New York Times, some female staff members, who have worked in relative freedom over the past two decades, pushed back against the new decree, questioning the idea that the Taliban had a monopoly on defining the Islamic faith.
"In this holy place, there was nothing un-Islamic," one female lecturer said. "Presidents, teachers, engineers and even mullahs are trained here and gifted to society," she said. "Kabul University is the home to the nation of Afghanistan." New York Times reported quoting her.
Around 70 teaching staff of the Kabul University, including assistant professors and professors have resigned after the Taliban sacked PhD holder Vice-Chancellor Muhammad Osman Baburi and replaced him with Muhammad Ashraf Ghairat, a BA degree holder.
The appointment of Ghairat as VC in the biggest university based in Kabul has led to protests on social media. Critics have highlighted a tweet by Ghairat last year in which he justified the killing of journalists.
Earlier, the Taliban has officially changed the name of a government university in the name of Burhanuddin Rabbani-former Afghan President and founder of Afghanistan's second-biggest political party- to Kabul Education University.
The university was named after Burhanuddin Rabbani after he was killed in a suicide attack in his home in 2009.
An official directive released by the Ministry of Higher Education stated that universities are the intellectual assets of Afghanistan and should not be named after political or ethnic leaders, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.
The directive stated that lingual, regional, and ethnic discrimination have prevailed in Afghanistan in the past two decades and national places were named based on those.