Conflicts & War

Afghan girls continue studying in hidden classrooms, defying Taliban ban

By Moncho Torres

Kabul, Dec 12 (EFE).- A legion of Afghan teachers continue to defy the Taliban threat every day to offer secret classes to female high-school students, their own form of resistance since the Islamists announced three months ago that the girls could not return to school until further notice.

In one such clandestine classroom in a residential area of Kabul, around a dozen students were studying from Karima Kohistani, a teacher who decided to convert a room in her house into a classroom to allow the girls to continue their education.

It was a dangerous decision, but Kohistani told EFE that she could not say no to the repeated pleas by the students, including her 17-year-old daughter, who kept asking when the classes would resume and even landed up on her doorstep looking for help.

“As a mother, as a teacher, how could I bear to see disappointed daughters and students? So finally, I decided to start a school, especially for those girls whose family cannot support them to join private classes or if their parents are also illiterate and aren’t able to teach them,” she said.

The unofficial “school” already has 30-40 students, who arrive without fail at different hours of the day according to their level, dressed from head to toe to battle the intense cold, and despite the threat of a possible visit by the Taliban.

Another teacher, Dakia, told EFE that they are not left in peace even in the clandestine classes because the Islamist group had found out about them.

“Sometimes the Taliban come here too, and say you are not permitted to ask the girls to come here and study, when they don’t go to the school, they must not come to the course also,” said the teacher.

“We are very afraid of the Taliban at this ‘home-school’ also, but we secretly come here at different times,” she said with a smile.

“Sometimes we come in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, so the Taliban are not aware.”

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