By banning women from attending universities and colleges, the Taliban have proved that their ideological motivations matter more than international opinion. In September last year, one month after taking power again, the Taliban banned girls from attending secondary schools. In November, the Taliban banned women from visiting public parks, hamams and gymnasiums. In December, the Taliban resumed the practice of public floggings and executions, putting their medieval motivations on display yet again.
Many countries and the United Nations Security Council have expressed concern at the Taliban decisions banning women from public life. But what do these statements amount to? Can the UN and other influential countries influence Taliban behaviour?