Saudi Arabia calls on Taliban to reverse decision banning women from higher education

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia called on the Taliban to reverse a ban on women pursuing higher education in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The call came a day after the country’s Taliban rulers ordered women nationwide to stop attending private and public universities immediately and until further notice.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry expressed surprise and regret at the decision and said it was met with astonishment in all Muslim countries.

The ministry said the decision denied Afghan women their full legal rights and the right to an education which contributes to supporting security, stability, development, and prosperity in Afghanistan.

Taliban security forces in the Afghan capital on Wednesday enforced the higher education ban for women by blocking their access to universities. Women were filmed weeping and consoling each other outside one campus in Kabul.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also denounced the decision, calling on the Taliban to reverse it “for the sake of maintaining consistency between their promises and actual decisions.”

“Suspending access by female students to Afghanistan’s universities, OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha believes, will go a long way in seriously denting the credibility of the government in place, just as it will deny Afghan girls and women their fundamental rights to education, employment, and social justice,” the OIC tweeted.