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Division appears within Taliban as some leaders openly back girls’ education

The remark is significant as it comes ahead of a crucial Taliban meeting where the group is scheduled to revisit the issue pertaining to education for girls. Prior to Stanekzai, who is widely considered a moderate within the ultra-conservative group, senior leaders of the infamous Haqqani Network had also backed the education rights for girls.

May 23, 2022
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In yet another sign of growing schism within the Taliban ranks over the issue of girls’ education, a senior Taliban leader publicly backed the demand of reopening schools for secondary-level girls in the country. Since the return of the Taliban’s rule last year, Afghan girls above grade 5 have not been allowed to access schools.

Abbas Stanekzai, who is the deputy foreign minister in the Taliban’s interim government, was quoted as saying that it was the government’s right to provide a safe education environment girls in the country, TOLOnews said.

The comment came last week during an event marking the death anniversary of former Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in an American drone strike in 2016.

Stanikzai, who earlier headed the Taliban’s political office in Doha and is widely travelled, said women make up half of the country’s population and they should be provided with their rights based on Afghan culture and Islamic values. 

“Women can’t even ask for their inheritance. They are deprived of the right to education. Where will women learn Shariah's lessons? he was quoted as saying by TOLOnews.

The remark is significant as it comes ahead of a crucial Taliban meeting where the group is scheduled to revisit the issue pertaining to education for girls. Prior to Stanekzai, who is widely considered a moderate within the ultra-conservative group, senior leaders of the infamous Haqqani Network had also backed the education rights for girls.

In an interview with CNN, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister of the government, assured that the girls would soon be allowed to access school. 

Haqqani, one of the most powerful leaders in the group, openly differed from the group's other hardline clerics who seem to be dominating the Shura, the group’s top decision-making body.

Earlier, Anas Haqqani, another senior Taliban leader, had also publicly criticized the decision to keep older girls away from schools. 

In his speech, Stanekzai also criticized the recently released budget for allocating smaller amounts to economic and development sectors. The people, he said, were forced to leave the country due to mounting economic challenges.  

(SAM)

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