Afghan girl continues quest for education after losing eye in deadly attack

Kabul, Nov 16 (EFE).- Fatima Amiri, a young woman from Afghanistan’s persecuted Shia Hazara minority, lost one of her eyes in a suicide bombing at a Kabul-based study center which killed 54 people.

Less than two months later, she has managed to get admission at a local university after receiving through an outstanding performance in the entrance test.

Amiri told EFE that she had always dreamed of studying information technology and “fought hard for it.”

She had been taking part in a mock-test for the university entrance exam on Sep. 30 at an institute situated in the capital’s Hazara district of Dasht-e-Barchi when suicide bomber of the Islamic State broke into the classroom after firing and blew himself.

At least 54 people were killed in the attack and dozens were injured, including Amiri, who lost her left eye.

“I was about to solve the fourth math question when we heard firing, and the girls started screaming and crying, I stood up to calm our classmates, as all of them were crying,” the 17-year-old said.

Used to witnessing repeated attacks against the Hazara community, Amiri tried to calm her classmates by saying nothing would happen to them.

“Suddenly I saw a young man firing everywhere in the class, (…) I sat under a bench and then the suicide explosion happened,” she narrated to EFE.

The injured girl ran out of the place on her own and sought help at a hospital.

Two weeks later, Amiri undertook the university entrance tests – the first held under the Taliban government – for IT, and received 313 marks out of 360 in the results published last week.

The 2022 university entrance tests limit the options for women, as they are not allowed to choose the disciplines of journalism, engineering, agriculture, veterinary sciences – and in some provinces even political science – as part of the Taliban’s ban on mix-gender classes.

Although Amiri achieved her dream of studuying IT, she said it was a shame that “other girls were not allowed to select their favorite faculty and their favorite fields had been deleted.”

The future of high-school students is even more complicated in Afghanistan.

For 410 days since secondary schools for girls have remained shut due to a Taliban ban, despite the regime promising to reopen them earlier.

The Afghan girls’ path to university has shut due to the lack of secondary education.

“I hope the girls’ schools reopen in the near future. The only way to build our country is education, and if the girls are able to study, the speed of the country’s reconstruction and development will double,” Amiri added.

Many other students have been forced to drop off from studies due to restrictions on women linked to education, work and social participation.

“Our class was one biggest, but when (girls’) schools above grade six remained closed, the students no longer felt motivated to continue their studies,” Amiri explained.

The Afghan youngster comes from an underprivileged family with her father being a street vendor in the capital, and it is a major achievement for her to have cleared the difficult university test, attempted by over 100,000 students across the country.

“The mathematical subjects have to be re-studied in the (preparatory) course, but most of them I studied on my own without any trainer and teacher, several times I returned back to home due to not having money for paying the course fee,” Amiri said.

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