Letters from Kabul # 3: Black, the Taliban’s desired colour in the university

Content warning: mention of violence, crime and terrorism

My scarf was not black, they kicked me out of the class

How has the environment of universities changed for girls after the rule of the Taliban?

28 August 2022 

Universities are one of the best places that are full of purposive, hardworking and energetic people.

Kabul University was one of these places but in one past year it is full of depressed and hopeless students with an unclear future.

Today’s situation at Kabul university is different from all universities. There are no such restrictions in any university in the world. One of these restrictions is the type of clothing girls wear in university. The Acting Minister of the Taliban had a meeting with the professors of Kabul University and announced strict conditions for girls to attend the university.

A few months ago, a videotape circulated on social media showing that Taliban forces were preventing girl students wearing coloured headscarves from entering one of the Universities in Kabul.
The Taliban government had previously ordered that female students refrain from wearing coloured scarves and instead use black, thick and full-covering scarves. They had determined the burqa or long black veil as the Islamic and legal hijab.

First thing in the morning, when I go with a good motivation and a good start, in the university environment, I meet female employees of the Taliban who are behaving badly. They see our mantles that are not short and not coloured other than black. This situation is very horrible and humiliating for me, but due to the compulsion I have, I have no other choice but to accept this situation.

After the Taliban installed different notices about observing hijab inside the university, one day, one of my friends went to the university wearing a pink veil. When the forces of the Taliban were inspecting one by one, they noticed the colour of her scarf. They expelled her from the class and warned our professors not to allow a student who enters the university and class with a coloured scarf.

I don’t think that in any university in the world, student’s opinions and words are controlled and censored. But in here Taliban are controlling students’ ideas by teachers. They are trying to change the opinion of the students in favour of their group.

One day, in a discussion in our class, I expressed that the whole world considers Taliban as terrorist group. My word received a serious reaction from the professor. And then the university president warned me and said, “After this you cannot say such things about Taliban, and it is your last chance”.

Every day we are witnessing causes like, Students arresting, tortured and threatening.

The Taliban clearly intend to stop the progress of women in the field of education. We do not want to accept that we will not study and come to university. It is true that we accepted all these insults and we face this situation every morning, but we want to finish university.

In addition to that, in order to separate genders in universities, the Taliban have introduced the odd and even plan. According to which female students attend classes on odd days and male students attend classes on even days. It means we go to university three days a week.
Despite all these difficulties and problems, we attend our lessons.

And our only desire is that after graduating from university, we, as girls of this land, have the right to work. To use what we have and achieve our dreams.


* name has been changed for the safety of the woman writing.

Letters from Kabul is an ongoing series of letters sent to a Circle of Friends member and shared here with the permission of the author. The letters are written by a young woman from Kabul and are corrected as little as possible to ensure her detailing of current life in Kabul is told in her authentic voice.

Read previous letters: