After nearly 100 days since the US pulled out of Afghanistan, Malala Yousafzai, famously shot by the Taliban for going to school in 2012, met the US State Departmment Secretary on Monday, where she decried the turnabout happening now under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, where freedoms of women and education opportunities have disappeared.
Facing the media, and meeting with Antony Blinken in Washington D.C., the poised and newly married Yousafzai told Blinken: “You’ve mentioned that we’re here to talk about equality in girls’ education, but we know that Afghanistan right now is the only country where girls do not have access to secondary education.”
It has been nearly 100 days since the US pulled out of Afghanistan after a 20-year military and diplomatic presence, a presence that saw women and girls make tremendous educational and professional strides. But the returning Taliban have taken the country back to a male-dominated society, with few educational options for girls and women.
“Girls’ education is a powerful tool for bringing peace and security,” Yousafzai said, quoting from a 15-year-old Afghan girl’s letter to her. “If girls don’t learn, Afghanistan will suffer, too. As a girl and a human being, I need you to know that I have rights. Women and girls have rights. Afghans have the right to live in peace, go to school and play.”