Taliban say women can study at university

A Taliban official says women in Afghanistan will be allowed to study in universities.

However, the new Higher Education minister said Sunday there will be set rules: classes will be gender-segregated and strict Islamic dress must be worn.

He didn't specify if that meant headscarves or compulsory face coverings.

The minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, added that female students would be taught by women wherever possible.

Women's education has been one of the central questions facing the Taliban as they seek to persuade the world that they have changed since their harsh fundamentalist rule in the 1990s.

Last week Reuters obtained photos of classrooms with a curtain divided between male and female students.

Students Reuters spoke to at a university in Kabul criticised the segregation:

STUDENT AT IBN SINA PRIVATE UNIVERSITY, SHAKIB SHADAAN, SAYING: (male sot begins 1:21)"Our request to the Taliban is not to be so strict and not to impose extremist Islam on people, and they must act according to the previous government's (referring to Ghani's government) rules."

STUDENT AT IBN SINA PRIVATE UNIVERSITY, FATIMA SALAQZADA, SAYING: (-:34 sot begins for woman)"Do not create problems and challenges in the field of education (asking the Taliban), so that we can carry on with our activities in the field of education and employment like we used to in the past."

Since the Taliban seized power, some women have taken to the streets demanding women's equal access to jobs, taking part in politics and education.

Video from the start of September showed some women being tear gased and local media reported some women had been hit and tasered.

Haqqani, the education minister, told reporters also on Sunday that all subjects taught at colleges would also be reviewed in the coming months.

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