‘There is no life without women’: Afghanistan students speak up after Taliban bans female education

In a video sent to ITV News' Here's The Story, a student says ''it’s become a crime to be a woman."

Defiant students in Afghanistan are refusing to give up their dreams after the Taliban banned all women in the country from education. 

In December 2022, girls and women across the country were left in tears as the higher education minister announced the suspension of universities for females

The ban came just months after thousands of girls and women took their university entrance exams - only to be left with nothing in return. 

"It’s become a crime to study," says one student in one of many videos sent to ITV News."I live in a country where it’s a crime to be a woman."

The women who appeared on camera - disguising their faces or have been blurred by us - are a glimpse into the reality for females in Afghanistan right now as they’re stripped of their future.

Another woman says: "You can live in a country without men but there is no life without women."

Afghan girls students attend school classes in a primary school in Kabul. Credit: AP

Since the Taliban took back their power in August 2021, the country has seen many devastating changes, particularly for females.

Last March, schoolgirls were told to say goodbye to their classrooms after the Taliban falsely promised to re-open them but then changed their mind on the day pupils were supposed to return. 

Girls and women have continued to see other freedoms taken away, including things like going to the park, public baths and the gym in the capital, Kabul. 

The recent end to female education has led to protests - with security forces trying to disperse women with water cannons.

In one of the videos sent to us, a woman says now that education is banned, she predicts forced marriage will be next. 

Another student explained how being a female in Afghanistan is enough to get you discriminated against. 

"Afghanistan has notoriously become the only country where girls are forbidden from any form of education, solely because of their gender."

Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul. Credit: AP

The United Nations seemed to echo that - stating that suspending women from education is in violation of Afghanistan’s obligations under international law.

The humanitarian aid agency says: "The women’s rights to access all levels of education without discrimination is fundamental and unquestionable."