US strongly condemns Taliban's stand on women's education, calls it an 'unacceptable stance'

"The United States condemns, in the strongest terms, the Taliban's indefensible decision to ban women from universities, to keep secondary schools closed to girls, and to continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms," Ned Price said.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, December 21, 2022, 10:20 AM IST
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US State Department spokesperson Ned Price | AFP

Washington: The United States has condemned in 'the strongest terms' the Taliban's decision to ban university education for Afghan women and to keep secondary schools closed for girls.

Statement from US State Department

Addressing a press briefing on December 20 (local time), US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price called education an 'internationally recognized human right' and warned that the Taliban's 'unacceptable stance' will have consequences for them and further isolate the group from the international community.

"The United States condemns, in the strongest terms, the Taliban's indefensible decision to ban women from universities, to keep secondary schools closed to girls, and to continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms," Ned Price said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, "Deeply dismayed by the announcement from the Taliban denying women the right to university education. Afghan women deserve better. Afghanistan deserves better. The Taliban have just definitively set back their objective of being accepted by the international community."

A letter issued to all government and private universities by the Ministry of Higher Education ordered the suspension of higher education for female students in Afghanistan, Tolo News reported. Ned Price has said that the US condemns the Taliban's decision to impose other restrictions on the women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms. He acknowledged that the Taliban's decision to close secondary schools to girls last March has had a 'significant impact' on Washington's engagement with the Taliban.

"Education is an internationally recognized human right and it is essential to Afghanistan's economic growth and stability. This unacceptable stance will have significant consequences for the Taliban and will further alienate the Taliban from the international community and deny them the legitimacy they desire," Ned Price said.

Price recalled that the Taliban made promises that it would quickly reverse its decision and reopen schools. However, he noted Taliban's order now states that women cannot attend universities. Furthermore, he stressed that the implementation of the Taliban's order will result in half of the Afghan population being unable to access education after primary school.

'Afghanistan is already losing more than USD 1 billion per year in the economic contributions,' says Ned Price

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Afghanistan is already losing more than USD 1 billion per year in contributions that women could have made to the economy. He stated that the Taliban's decision has imposed these losses on the Afghans for an indefinite future.

He further said, "Our allies and partners will be joining us in a chorus calling out this decision, lamenting it, and making clear where the international community stands on this indefensible decision."

Statement from US Security Council

Meanwhile, United States National Security Council Adrienne Watson said, "The United States condemns the Taliban's indefensible decision to prevent Afghan women from receiving a university-level education." Watson stated, "this deplorable decision is the latest effort by Taliban leadership to impose additional restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan and prevent them from exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms." She stated that US will continue to remain in touch with partners and allies on this issue.
Adrienne Watson further said, "The United States is in touch with our partners and allies on this issue. We will continue to take steps to advance our shared efforts to support Afghan women and girls and provide robust humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan."

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