Afghan women remain cut-off as world observes Education Day

Kabul, Jan 24 (EFE).- Activists on Tuesday highlighted that Afghan women have been unable to return to classroom since the Taliban seized power and first banned their access to high-schools and later universities, even as the world marked the International Day of Education.

“It is an important day, but in Afghanistan half of the population is ignored from social participation” including the millions of girls deprived of education in a “huge setback for the country and education system,” Afghan social activist Sodaba Nazhand told EFE.

Nazhand, who used to offer free classes for street children in Kabul, said that the years Afghan girls spend without access to classrooms “will be impossible to recover, and our country will face more hunger, poverty, darkness, and an unsocialized society.”

“Without education, our country will be always dependent and others will be able to exploit Afghanistan’s mining and (other) resources,” the activist said.

Another rights activist, Maryam, told EFE that the Taliban’s vision is “systemically erasing women.”

After repeated protests over the last year and a-half demanding the reopening of high-schools and university education for women, the activists are losing hope that the Islamist government would accede to these demands.

“So far, we have witnessed that the Taliban never believe in women’s rights, therefore we are calling for a non-Taliban government,” Maryam said.

To mark the day, a group of Afghan women held a closed-door protest, covering their faces to remain anonymous due to the fear of government retaliation.

“The women and girls in Afghanistan are celebrating this day at a time when they are deprived of their education,” one of the protesters said in a video clip shared on social media, in which she calls for the end to the Taliban regime.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan tweeted that as of Tuesday “some 1.1 million (Afghan) girls have been banned from attending secondary school and over 100,000 from university.”

“I call on the Taliban to reverse the outrageous and self-defeating ban on access to secondary and higher education for girls & women in Afghanistan,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted on the occasion of the International Day of Education, dedicated to Afghan women.

The Islamist regime in Afghanistan that returned to power in August 2021 has imposed a series of restrictions on women like banning teenage girls from attending school, segregation of men and women in public places, making it mandatory for women to wear the veil in public and be accompanied by a male relative on long journeys.

The conditions are increasingly similar to the first Taliban regime (1996-2001), which was overthrown by the United States invasion of Afghanistan.


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