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Taliban says to open public universities this month


KABUL: Afghanistan’s public universities, closed since the Taliban seized power in August last year, will reopen in February, the Taliban acting higher education minister has said, without specifying whether female students would be able to return.

Universities in warmer provinces will reopen from February 2, while those in colder areas would reopen on February 26, the minister, Shaikh Abdul Baqi Haqqani, told a news conference in Kabul.

He did not say what arrangements if any would be made for female students. In the past, Taliban officials have suggested that women could be taught in separate classes.

So far, the Taliban government has reopened high schools for boys only in most parts of the country. Some private universities have reopened, but in many cases female students have not been able to return to class.

Western governments have made education for female students a part of their demands as the Taliban seek more foreign aid and the unfreezing of some $10 billion overseas assets.

Taliban took over the country on August 15 as foreign forces withdrew and the Western-backed government collapsed. 

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since then as the Taliban takeover resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security.


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