The policy, which is set to take effect immediately, is just the latest in a string of regressive moves made by the Taliban since the Biden administration's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan left the country in the hands of the barbaric extremist group.
According to Afghan policy expert Shabnam Nasimi, the Taliban's higher education minister announced in a letter that the government had decided to close universities for women until further notice, but did not elaborate.
When the US pulled out of the country in summer 2021, the Taliban quickly restricted women and girls' access to education. Universities were segregated by gender, and limits were placed on the subjects each sex had access to. While men were able to study whatever they pleased, women were barred from studying veterinary science, engineering, economic, and agriculture. Additionally, female students could only be taught by other females, or old men, in accordance with Islamic law.
Just three months ago, thousands of women across Afghanistan wrote university entrance exams, hoping to begin their post-secondary journeys, however, the recent move by the Taliban has left them all with crushed dreams.
"They destroyed the only bridge that could connect me with my future," one student told the BBC. Another suggested the Taliban were scared of the impact a generation of educated women could have on their power.Across the world, women led the charge in opposition to the policy.
"Equal access to all levels of education is a right to which every woman and every girl is entitled," Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said. "We condemn this outrageous violation."
"For many women, myself included, education was the way out," explained ex-muslim Yasmine Mohammed. "It was ticket to freedom. And so, The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has announced the closure of universities for women."