KABUL: Afghan women wearing full face veils sat in rows at a Kabul university lecture theatre Saturday, pledging commitment to the Taliban’s hardline policies on gender segregation.
They also defended the new government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which has banned demonstrations unless permission is granted by the justice ministry.
Women’s rights in Afghanistan were sharply curtailed under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule, but since returning to power last month they have claimed they will implement a less extreme rule.
This time, women will be allowed to attend university as long as classes are segregated by sex or at least divided by a curtain, the Taliban’s education authority has said.
They must also wear an abaya robe and niqab.
The women, who organizers said were students, listened to a series of speeches at Shaheed Rabbani Education University in the capital, Kabul.
“We are against those women who are protesting on the streets, claiming they are representative of women,” said the first speaker, covered head to toe.
“Is it freedom to like the last government? No, it is not freedom. The last government were misusing women. They were recruiting women just by their beauty,” she claimed.
A student named Shabana Omari told the crowd she agreed with the Taliban’s policy that women should cover their heads.
“Those not wearing the hijab are harming all of us,” she said, referring to the headscarves worn by many Muslim women.