The Afghan Taliban leadership has issued an indefinite ban on girls attending universities, according to a letter addressed to all public and private institutions on Tuesday.
“You are all informed to implement the specified direction of discontinuing female education until further notice,” said Minister for Higher Education Neda Mohammad Nadeem in a letter.
In a text message to AFP, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Ziaullah Hashimi, verified the directive and also tweeted the letter.
The prohibition on female education is likely to generate concern because the de facto government has not been legally recognized by the international community.
Foreign nations, including the United States, have stated that before legally recognizing the Taliban-run government, which is also subject to heavy sanctions, the Taliban-run government must modify its policy on women’s education.
The restriction on higher education came less than three months after thousands of girls and women across the country completed university entrance exams, many of whom aspired to careers in engineering and medicine.
Colleges were forced to establish new laws, such as gender-segregated classrooms and entrances, after hardliners took control of the country in August of last year, and women were only allowed to be taught by older guys or female academics.
The majority of adolescent girls in the country are already barred from attending secondary schools, limiting their access to higher education dramatically.