Afghan women protest Taliban ban on education of senior girls

Educated women protested in Kabul over the apparent ban the Taliban has put on girls from attending secondary schools where boys have been allowed to resume their learning

Sep 20, 2021
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Afghan women protest

Educated women protested in Kabul over the apparent ban the Taliban has put on girls from attending secondary schools where boys have been allowed to resume their learning.

Last week, the Taliban issued an order which didn’t allow girls students to attend secondary school, raising fear among millions of girls and parents of the return of the dark days of the 90s. Taliban spokesperson  Zabihullah Mujahid, however, denied they have banned education for girls, saying they were working on suitable arrangements. 

“There are certain rules during the class time that must be obeyed that they could be safe and sound,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. He further pointed out that girls of other ages are allowed to continue their studies.

However, given the group’s recent track record of not sticking to their own assurances, people are not optimistic. 

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who stays in Kabul, said “They is no other way. The education of girls is extremely important. This will not be a country that stands on its own feet without education, especially girls.” 

Ever since the Taliban returned to power on 15 August, the group has been clamping down on rights and the gains of the last two decades on the social front. The group replaced the Ministry of Women with the Ministry of Virtue and Vice. 

Among the protesting women were many employees of Kabul Municipality. Reports say the Taliban has ordered female employees not to return to work and stay in their homes. Only a handful of women employees--whose replacements could not be found at the moment-- are retained on municipal jobs.

“There are women who are breadwinners for their families,” said Hasina Sarwari, a women's rights activist, adding, “There is no way for them, except working." The country has been in conflict and war for more than 42 years now and there are millions of widows and orphaned kids. Banning women from jobs is not only unreasonable but also “unsustainable.”   

When the Taliban stormed into Kabul last month, many people expected that the group would not revert back to the old harsh practices of the 90s when they last ruled the country. However, these hopes are vanishing fast. 

 (SAM)