Dear Madam, Dear Sir, Dear friends and comrades,
How can we not be outraged by the decision of the Taliban government on 20 December to close the doors of all public and private universities to female students? This after having closed the doors of schools to young girls, and those of public services to the women who worked there, then having forbidden women access to parks and public baths. This after having repressed and murdered those – women and men – who oppose these retrograde measures, including by taking to the streets.
How can we not share the indignation of the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement at the silence and complicity of the “international community” which, as they write, sheds “crocodile tears” over the fate of the women and girls of Afghanistan.
We are proud to circulate in this second communiqué the information received from Afghanistan since 20 December, and in particular the story and photos of the student demonstrations that took place not only in Kabul but also in many provincial universities.
The existence and the activity of our International Committee, set up on 29 October, are more than ever justified so that the struggle of the spontaneous Afghan women’s movement is relayed as widely as possible. And so that, wherever possible, we call on the authorities in our countries – particularly in the major powers – to grant unconditional asylum to the most threa- tened women and activists.
Spread the word about the International Committee For the Defence of Afghan Women!
General Secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (Pakistan)
National Secretary of the Independent and Democratic Workers’ Party (France)
On 29 October, women workers and activists from nineteen countries, meeting in the International Conference of Women Workers, informed by the spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement, decided to set up the International Committee for the Defence of Afghan Women and called for people to join.
Since then, several thousands have joined in France, Romania, Benin, Italy, Pakistan, Great Britain, Germany, United States and Mexico. You too can join the International Committee for the Defence of Afghan Women and spread the word.
Demonstrations in Kabul, Parwan…
The Taliban banned girls from studying in universities
According to the decree dated December 20, 2022 of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the gates of all public and private universities were closed to Afghan girls. On Wednesday, when some girls were in the last week of their annual exams and some wanted to attend their classes, the religious police of the Taliban did not allow them to enter the university and attend their classes.
While the fierce struggle and widespread protests were going on to reopen the gates of girls’ schools from the sixth to the twelfth grades, the misogynistic administration of the Taliban in Kabul not only ignored the legal demand of Afghan women and girls, but now, with their new order, they deprived them of higher education as well.
Mojdeh Azim, a fourth-year student at Herat University, says, “I have never been so upset as when I heard that we no longer have the right to go to university.” Likewise, Sabra, a student at Kabul University, questions why the whole world issilent in front of »Taliban oppression” and does not show any reaction? “This is not acceptable for a girl who has arrived here after sixteen years with money from embroidering and weaving carpets and wanted to become a doctor. I studied with all my heart for four years. There was only one year left for me to finish university.” Sakineh Sama, one of the third year femal university student in Kabul, wrote in her Facebook page that she is no longer allowed to enter the university because she was born a girl. She has added: “Being a girl is a heavy crime, and tonight I want to curse my creator for making me to be so miserable and humiliated.”
In response to this inhumane and discriminatory decision of the Taliban government, female and male students protested in different provinces including Nangarhar, Kabul and Takhar and chanted “Education for all or for no one!” Higher Education, Work and Freedom!”, “Compatriots, join us!”, “Neutral is dishonorable!”. In Kabul and Takhar province, the Taliban violently suppressed the women’s demonstrations, beat the protesters, took their mobile phones, shot in the air, and detained at least ten protesting women and several journalists. In Nangarhar Medical University, male students in solidarity with female students walked out of their classes and left their exam papers blank.
During the last three days, more than 60 university professors in Kunduz; Kabul; Kandahar; Takhar; Bamiyan; Nimroz, Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, and other provinces have resigned from their duties in protest against the anti-women decision of the Taliban and consider serving in such an anti-science and anti-woman regime as an insult to their human dignity. Obaidullah Wardak was the first professor who resigned from his position at Kabul University due to systematic discrimination against women. He, who has been teaching at the Faculty of Mathematics of Kabul University for 10 years, says: “Before, there were many problems in the field of higher education; But with this latest decision of the Taliban, unfortunately I could not continue my duty in this way and with this system”. Abdul Reza Motmaen, a professor at Paktia University’s Faculty of Agriculture, who shared his resignation letter on his Facebook, said that “working in such an environment is treason”. Amir Arslan Khorasanpour, a professor at the Faculty of Journalism at the Fanous Institute of Higher Education in Kabul, says: “This is a decision that paralyzes half of society. I was completely disappointed with this behavior of the Taliban”.
Before this decision, the Taliban had imposed brutal and inhuman punishments on female students. For example, full observance of hijab, having a Mahram man when traveling, separating girls’ classes from boys’ classes, teaching female professors for girls, specifying separate class days in the week for girls and boys, etc.
…Demonstration in Nimroz.
Meanwhile, Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US representative for Afghanistan and one of the signatories of the February 2020 Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban, called the Taliban’s recent move to ban girls’ higher education “shocking and incomprehensible” in a statement. In fact, Khalilzad is shedding crocodile tears to deceive the people of the world and Afghanistan, and with this ridiculous expression of sympathy, he still wants to justify the agreement handing over the power of Afghanistan to this misogynistic and anti-science group. But for Afghan women, this action of the Taliban was not something new and unpredictable. Now, it should be clear to the governments that support the Taliban, who give them forty million dollars a week in aid, that there has been no improvement in the way the Taliban think about women, civil rights and civil liberties. Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban have turned Afghanistan into a hellish model for women. The Taliban have no plan to reduce poverty, create employment and provide social welfare except for the implementation of Sharia laws, elimination and enslavement of women, suppression of the voice of justice and promotion of violence and terrorism.
The Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women, by condemning this decision and action of the Taliban against women, promises the women and girls of Afghanistan that they will not submit to any pressure and coercion of the Taliban, but will continue their protests and struggle throughout Afghanistan. We ask the women’s movements and women’s rights activists around the world to stand by the women of Afghanistan in this catastrophic and unbearable situation and support the fight for justice and equality for women in Afghanistan.
Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women,
December 22, 2022, Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan women’s protests continue and became nationwide
Following the Taliban’s ban on the education of women and girls in universities and schools, women and girls, students and young people showed their anger and opposition in various ways and started protesting all over the country on Sunday, Dec 25, 2022. The general slogan of all the protests was “all or no one (“Education for All or for No one)”, which shows the awakening and solidarity of the Afghan youth protest movement against the Taliban. At the same time as the street protests, male students of at least 10 universities in different provinces have gone on strike and refused to go to classes.
In the provinces of Parwan and Kapisa, protesting women carried the following slogans: “Education for All or for No one”, “Justice, justice, we are tired of ignorance”, “Rise up, fellow countrymen, let’s take back women’s rights”, “We women are awake, we hate discrimination”, “Afghanistan has been destroyed, by order of the Taliban”
In Nimroz province, protestors against the ban on women’s higher education said that this decision has neither a Sharia nor a rational justification. They chanted “the right to education for all”.
Protesting women in Herat province were chanting: “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together”. They condemned the misogynist action of the Taliban by marching in the streets of Herat city. But the Taliban used guns and prinklers to supress the protestors. In a published video, it can be seen that one of the Taliban men tries to convince the protesting girls to abandon the demonstration and go to their homes,But a protesting woman bravely replies that the women have been at home for a year and the problem has not been solved, now they will not return home.
In another protest action, some women and girls of Herat province chanted “Education is our right” from the roof of their houses at night.
In Kabul province, in addition to the valorously protests and slogans of “Education, Work and Freedom”, some girls inside the city distributed pens and papers to passers-by as gifts with the words: “Don’t forget your education.”
In another protest action on Sunday in Kabul Province, a number of others are seen in a video burning pictures of Taliban leaders and carrying the slogan “right, justice, freedom” in protest against girls’ exclusion from education.
The refusal of male students
Demonstration in Nangarhar.
Likewise, on Sunday, male students of the fourth grade of Kabul University’s Faculty of Economics wrote in their letter of protest that ” fighting against discriminatory decisions is their responsibility.” They announced their commitment thatt “they will not attend their classes until the universities’ gates are opened for their sisters.” In this protest letter, concern was expressed that the Taliban’s decision
will lead to a major educational crisis in Afghanistan and will destroy the future of several generations.. Moreover, in their letter of protest, students of the fourth grade of the Faculty of Urban Planning Engineering of Kabul University have boycotted attending their classe suntil girls return to universities and they called the Taliban’s decision to ban girls’ education “unfair and illegitimate”.
The medical students of Herat University and the students of Ghalib Private University’s Faculty of Economics announced in solidarity with the female students that they will not attend their classes.
Similarly, in Balkh Province, the male students of the Faculty of Computer Science declared that they will not attend classes until the universities reopen to girls.
In the continuation of the protests, the students of the Faculty of Geology and Mines of Kabul Polytechnic University also joined the protestors, and in their statement they called the ban on women’s education “gender apartheid”.
A group of male students of “Afghan Pamir Institute of Higher Education” in Kabul protested against the prohibition of women’s higher education and left the exam hall and did not participate in the exam.
However, in Kandahar province on Saturday, when the students of Mirwais Nikah University, who were planning to boycott the exam and leave the university in protest against the prohibition of women’s higher education, the Taliban prevented the students from doing so and beat them.
During the protests of women and youth in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kabul, Takhar, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Parwan and Kapisa, dozens of protesters have been beaten and injured, and dozens more have been arrested by the Taliban and taken to an unknown place.
Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women,
December 25, 2022, Kabul, Afghanistan