| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Afghan girls stuck at home, waiting for Taliban plan to re-open schools

As the weeks pass in Afghanistan, the new Taliban government has failed to say when secondary schools for females will reopen, leaving them at home while their brothers return to class.

After telling males in classes beyond the sixth grade to return to school for two weeks, the administration now claims it is trying to make it feasible for girls to do so as well.

“My plea to the Islamic Emirate is that females be permitted to attend to school,” Marwa, a Kabul student, said, referring to the Taliban’s administration as a “Islamic Emirate.” “Also, (female) instructors should be permitted to educate females at school.”

“I aspired to be a great doctor so that I could serve my people, my nation, and my family while also working in the community,” she continued, “but it’s unclear what my future holds today.”

The problem has grown in importance as the rest of the world, which badly needs assistance money for Afghanistan, attempts to figure out whether the new Taliban administration would allow women and girls more liberties than it did the previous time it was in power.

At a press conference on Sept. 21, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The Ministry of Study is working hard to create the foundation for the education of high school ladies as soon as feasible.”

The ministry put a statement on its Facebook page on Sept. 24 saying no decision had been reached on when girls would be able to go to school, but that work on the issue was continuing and information would be shared as soon as possible.

Girls’ education and literacy rates, while still relatively low by world standards and well below the rates for boys, have risen sharply since the last Taliban government was ousted by a U.S.-led campaign in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

But increasingly, foreign officials and rights activists including U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have warned that one of the biggest social gains of the past 20 years may be under threat.

Facing a potentially catastrophic economic crisis that will require large amounts of foreign aid, the movement has tried to present a conciliatory face as it seeks to gain international recognition for its government.

Officials say they will not repeat the harsh rule of the previous Taliban government toppled in 2001, which banned most girls’ education and forbade women from going out in public without a male guardian.

They say all rights for women and girls will be guaranteed in accordance with Islamic law. But they have not said when and under what conditions girls’ schools will be allowed to re-open.

“If our Taliban brothers want their government to be stable and the international community to recognise it, according to sharia, they should allow girls to study,” said Shaima Samih, a 57 year-old maths teacher from Kabul.

  • Reuters