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Women banned from universities in Afghanistan until further notice, Taliban confirms

The edict, issued following a meeting of the Taliban government, marks the latest in a crackdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women.

Despite initially promising a more moderate rule and women’s and minority rights, the Taliban have widely implemented their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia since they took over the country last year.

They have banned girls from middle school and high school, restricted women from most employment and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public.

Women have also been banned from public spaces such as parks and gyms since November in a bid to prevent them mixing with men – a move condemned by the United Nations.

A letter shared by the spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education, Ziaullah Hashmi, tells both private and public universities to implement the ban on female students as soon as possible and to inform the ministry once the restriction is in place.

Mr Hashmi also tweeted the letter from his account and confirmed its contents in a message to news agency the Associated Press.

The university ban comes weeks after Afghan girls took their high school graduation exams, despite having been banned from classrooms since the Taliban’s takeover.

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