Afghans use social media to protest university ban

Afghans use social media to protest university ban

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Kabul (AFP) – Afghans took to social media on Wednesday to express outrage over the Taliban’s ban on women attending university, using the hashtag #LetHerLearn – one of the only ways people can still protest in the country.

Affected students poured their hearts out on Twitter and Facebook, lamenting how their dreams were shattered by the announcement late Tuesday that tertiary education is now off-limits to women.

“The eighth semester is over and I have only four exams left,” Kabul University student Zamzama Ghazal posted on her Facebook account with the popular hashtag.

“God! Don’t take this last hope away from me.”

The ban comes less than three months after thousands of girls and young women sat university entrance exams across the country, seeking to continue their education.

“We got to the university at 6:30 in the morning, the boys were allowed to enter and they pointed guns at us and told us to go home,” Tamana Aref tweeted.

It was the latest crackdown on women’s rights that have been steadily eroded since the hardline Islamist group returned to power in August last year.

“I knew it would happen one day,” Hadia Rahmani wrote on Facebook.

“One day even going out on streets and roads for women will be banned until further notice.”

Social media was filled with video clips of university students crying desperately outside campus gates after being denied entry by armed Taliban guards.


Samim Arif, once a deputy spokesman for former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, tweeted about his family’s distress over the news that his sister will not be allowed to pursue her engineering degree.

“My 18-year-old sister Wurranga worked very hard to get through engineering school,” he wrote.

“Now the Taliban has banned her from attending school. Her dreams are shattered, our family is ruined.”

Many users used the hashtags #LetHerLearn and #LetAfghanGirlsLearn to express their support for the right of Afghan girls and women to education.

“Acquiring knowledge is a must. There is no doubt that women make up half of society,” tweeted Rashid Khan, the former captain of the national cricket team and one of the country’s few truly international sports stars.

Some users shared images of male students from the faculty of medicine at Nangarhar University leaving their exams in sympathy with their female classmates who were not allowed.

A mathematics professor in Kabul also took a stand.

Obaidullah Wardak announced his resignation on Facebook, saying he did not want to continue teaching “where girls are not allowed to study”.

Others tried to remember happier times.

Arifa Iran tweeted a photo of a previous women’s graduation ceremony and wrote:

“Talibs’ tears flow at such scenes when they see Afghans being educated.”

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