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U.S. library opens in Kabul — but women barred

SHARE U.S. library opens in Kabul — but women barred

KABUL, Afghanistan — An American university has opened a medical library in Afghanistan, hoping to help get Kabul University back on its feet after more than 20 years of war and upheaval,

Loma Linda University, based in Southern California, sent 150 books and four computers, as well as eight doctors and staff, to help set up the library at Kabul University, said Joan Coggin, the university's vice president.

"We will be sending doctors and teachers to help establish a good standard of education here at Kabul University," Coggin said Friday. "At one time, doctors educated at Kabul were highly trained and well-respected."

However, women will not be able to study at the new medical library. The ruling Taliban, which espouse a harsh brand of Islam, banned women from education and work in 1996.

But Coggin said she was optimistic the Taliban would reverse the ban.

"I am not happy about the situation for women, but I know this is temporary. The government has assured me that women will be allowed to study in the future, and I believe the reassurances," Coggin said.

Taliban's deputy minister of higher education appealed to Muslim countries and the international community for help with scholarships and books.

"Many of our teachers and other experts have left over the past 20 years of war and upheaval," he said. "We need to rebuild, and we need help."

Founded in 1905, Loma Linda University is a health sciences university affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church's system of higher education and is based in Loma Linda, Calif.