Afghan girls deprived of secondary education for 300 days under Taliban

Kabul, Jul 13 (EFE).- Afghan girls on Wednesday completed 300 days without being able to attend high-school classrooms due to a ban imposed by the Taliban after they seized power last year, a measure which has severely affected the future of women in the country.

“It has almost been a year that we are imprisoned at home without any reason, and without any sin, and still there is no sign of our schools reopening. I don’t know how difficult this decision is for the Taliban, that they are not taking it,” 17-year-old student Sana told EFE.

Although the Taliban had promised to reopen schools for girls aged between 12-18 in the country after adapting them to Islamic law (Shariah), Afghan women feel that no real efforts have been made to secure their education since the Islamists came to power.

“Most of the girls are disappointed and some developed psychiatric illness,” while others have been forced to take up work such as tailoring to earn money, Sana said.

Afghan education ministry spokesperson Malavi Aziz Ahmad Rehan told EFE that despite the pledge to “strengthen the country’s education system and provide balanced educational services for all citizens,” the government had still not taken any decision over reopening girls’ secondary schools.

The 300 days that the Afghan girl students have spent away from the classrooms would have “devastating consequences for them, their families, and the country’s future,” nonprofit Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Wednesday.

HRW released a series of videos with testimonies by six Afghan women who discuss how “education changed their lives and the devastating consequences of the current ban for this generation of Afghan girls.”

“It feels beyond belief that we could be having a conversation in 2022 about whether girls should be allowed to study,” said Sahar Fetrat, assistant women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and the producer of the project.

Artist Elaha Soroor said in one of the videos that if she had not had the privilege of going to school, she could not have broken the circle of patriarchy within her family and the Afghan society.

Similarly, journalist Zahra Joya said that she had to wear male clothes for a while to be able to go to school, and described it as a “difficult but beautiful journey” which took her where she was today.

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States troops in August last year, the hardline Islamist group has overturned the rights of women in various ways, including preventing girls from attending high-school, imposing the burka, segregating public space and banning women from traveling alone without a male companion.

The regime has also limited women’s access to workplaces. EFE


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