As University studies in Afghanistan resume under Taliban rule, an image has emerged showing male and female students segregated by a curtain down the middle of a classroom.
Pictures of a Kabul university show men and women sat on opposite sides of the room, with grey fabric curtains hanging as a divider down the middle of the room.
The images are reportedly from a class at Ibn-e Sina University.
Despite the scenes captured from within the university, Islamic law does not require the segregation of women from all males other than close family members.
However it is seen in the traditional behaviour of rural Pashtuns, who traditionally separated women who have reached puberty from men.
Following the Taliban’s takeover last month, representative Suhail Shaheen told Sky News that women will be allowed to work and be educated up to university level.
Describing the organisation’s attitude toward women’s freedom, he continued: “Our policy is clear – they can have access to education and work, that is one thing.
“They can hold positions, but that position they can hold is in the light of Islamic rule – so there is a general framework for them.”
But within days of its return to power there were claims women were being turned away from workplaces and universities in some parts of the country.
Many women donned burkas and were among those attempting to flee the country in fear of Taliban rule.
AFP via Getty Images)
Heather Barr, of Human Rights Watch, told The Independent : “Women are being told they can’t leave their house without a mahram, which is a male family member. Women are being forced out of their jobs.
“These are women working as professionals who have trained for a long time.”
Speaking in August, Suhail Shaheen said “thousands” of schools continued to operate.
But Women’s education was banned under Taliban rule in the 1990s, and its takeover in the past month has led to fears it will return to revive its old reign of terror.
Speaking at a news briefing on Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said women were an “important” part of society.
Women’s rights would be respected under Sharia, or Islamic, law, he said, although officials had not yet elaborated on what this meant.
In 2017, a Human Rights Watch report estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls did not attend school.
The streets of Mazar-e-Sharif, in Afghanistan’s Balkh province, were flooded with Afghan women on Monday, protesting against the Taliban’s treatment of women and urging the group to protect female’s human rights.
Photos from the city showed emotive scenes with women holding signs, which were reportedly asking for a continued right to education and decent jobs.
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