The Taliban use water cannons against women protesting the university ban

Taliban security forces used a water cannon to disperse women protesting a ban on university education for women on Saturday, witnesses said, as the Taliban-led government’s decision continues to cause outrage and opposition in Afghanistan and beyond.

The development came after Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Tuesday banned female students from attending universities with immediate effect. Since then, Afghan women have demonstrated in major cities against the ban, a rare sign of national protest since the Taliban seized power last year.

According to eyewitnesses in the western city of Herat, about two dozen women were on their way to the provincial governor’s house on Saturday to protest the ban, chanting “education is our right”, when security forces back off by shooting the water cannon.

Video shared with The Associated Press shows the women screaming and hiding in a side street to escape the water cannon.

One of the organizers of the protest, Maryam, said that between 100 and 150 women participated in the protest.

“There was security on every street, every square, armored vehicles and armed men,” he said.

“When we started our protest in Tariqi Park, the Taliban took tree branches and beat us. But we continued our protest. They increased their security presence. Around 11 in the morning, they took out the water cannon.”

There has been widespread international condemnation of the university ban, including from Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as warnings from the United States and the G7 group that the policy will have consequences for the Taliban.

A Taliban government official, Higher Education Minister Nida Mohammad Nadim, spoke about the ban for the first time on Thursday in an interview on Afghan state television. He said it was necessary to prevent gender mixing in universities and because he believed some of the subjects being taught violated the principles of Islam.

He said the ban will be in place until further notice.

For more, watch the Euronews report in the video above.

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