Kabul resident has not been able to attend classes new rulers have decided to keep teenage girls off schools.
Last month, the Taliban announced the opening of schools, but only boys were asked to return to school, leaving out girls from the same age group. The move has raised questions about the group’s policy about women’s education.
The Taliban said that “a safe learning environment” was needed before older girls could return to school, adding that schools will reopen as “soon as possible”, without giving a timeframe. Education is one of the most fundamental human rights, but today, that basic right has been taken from me and millions of other Afghan girls.
Afghanistan had struggled to get girls back into school during the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani. According to a 2015 survey prepared for UNESCO by the World Education Forum, nearly 50 percent of Afghan schools lacked usable buildings.
The Taliban’s lack of clarity on the reopening of secondary schools has compounded the problem and is a blow to millions of girls, especially those whose families thought the end of the war could return to some semblance of normal life. When the Afghan government fell, I lost my right to education, this was the first time I cried specifically because of my gender.
She said she still does not understand the reasoning for only keeping teenage girls from education, but she is certain that if it continues, it will only backfire on the Taliban. They kept saying they want young people to stay and use their talents, but they’re just driving us all out,” Nussrat said by phone from her Kabul home.
Thousands of young Afghans fled the country after the Taliban returned to power on August 15, 20 years after it was removed from power in a US-led military invasion.
Nussrat viewed herself as an example, saying she is currently preparing for English-language exams so she can apply for study abroad opportunities.
As someone who managed to come from one of the nation’s poorest provinces, Daikundi, where even boys drop out of school as teenagers to start working as day labourers, Nussrat said the Taliban is losing out on entire generations of driven, determined young people.
The Taliban stance on the education of girls and women has faced criticism from Qatar and Pakistan, which have called on the international community to engage with the Taliban.
At a news conference last month, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said it “has been very disappointing to see some steps being taken backwards” by the Taliban, who in the 1990s were the only leaders to ever ban women and girls from education and employment in Afghan history.
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Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar, which hosts the Taliban’s political office, should be used as a model for how a Muslim society can be run. “Our system is an Islamic system [but] we have women outnumbering men in workforces, in government and in higher education.
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Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, said that although he doubted the Taliban would once again place an outright ban on girls’ education, the group should be reminded that Islam would never allow such a thing to happen again.
The idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. It has nothing to do with religion.
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Prior to the Taliban’s arrival, cultural traditions were used as a basis for some families to keep their girls, especially older ones, from school. According to UNICEF, 33 percent of Afghan girls are married before the age of 18.
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Since it came to power, the Taliban has sent mixed signals about women returning to work in government offices and has forced universities to enact policies of gender segregation in order to reopen.
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