Afghan women protest outside Kabul University as male students return to class

Afghan women are seen protesting outside a university in Kabul as male students return to class.

(CNN)Young Afghan women gathered outside Kabul University on Monday to protest the ruling Taliban's ban on female education as their male peers returned to school for a new academic year and the United Nations heard the restriction may amount to a crime against humanity.

A video shared widely on social media shows a group of girls sitting on the ground outside Kabul University reading their books. CNN has not independently verified when the video was filmed.
The Taliban banned women from attending university last December, nine months after the Islamist group barred girls from returning to secondary schools amid a brutal crackdown on women's rights since it seized power in 2021.
    On Monday, a Taliban spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Education announced the start of classes in several provinces, claiming "all teachers and students attended their lessons in a safe and calm atmosphere."
      Photos from universities in Kabul show classrooms full of male students and teachers; images of female students on a banner at one private university had been struck out with spray paint.
      "We are happy that the university has started; But I am sad that our sisters cannot attend universities," a male student named Nasir told independent Afghan outlet TOLO News on Monday.
      Male students attend a computer science class after universities reopened in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 6, 2023.
      The Taliban has previously said the university ban was due to women not observing Islamic dress rules and other "Islamic values," citing female students traveling without a male guardian. Interaction between female and male students was "not allowed in Sharia law," it said.