Conflicts & War

Taliban name new education minister in a government rejig

Kabul, Sep 21 (EFE).- The Taliban government has appointed a supreme leader loyalist as the new education minister amid a global outcry over an indefinite ban on girls attending secondary schools.

Government spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said supreme leader Malavi Haibatullah Akhund reshuffled the federal and provincial governments picking up new ministers, governors, and security commanders.

According to the decree, Malavi Habibullah Agha, a known loyalist of Akhund, has been named the new education minister, replacing Malavi Noorullah Muneer.

The Taliban regime, particularly Muneer, has drawn international condemnation for not allowing girls over the sixth grade to attend school.

The indefinite ban meant deprivation of education for hundreds of thousands of girls for the past year of the Taliban in power.

The new appointment has sparked a mix of hope and despair for girls’ education in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

“The education minister finally changed. Is the good news is on the way,” Rahim Sikandar, a Taliban member, tweeted.

But some social activists doubt if it would translate into a change in the policy since the new minister is said to be “more conservative” than his predecessor and wields more power from being close to the supreme leader.

“I hope it does not happen. But this person seems more extremist and conservative as he is a close to the Taliban leader,” activist Naheed Noori told EFE.

She said the former minister was under massive pressure from the Afghan nation and the international community for not opening girl schools.

“The Taliban leader has decided to bring in a new face (who can) withstand the pressure and do his job according to supreme leader’s mandate.”

The education ministry was tight-lipped on any possible change.

The global community has made reopening secondary schools for girls a key condition for recognizing the Taliban government.

The ban on secondary education for girls completed a year on Sep.18.

The Islamists prevented the institutions from reopening after they seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Despite promises to the contrary, the fundamentalists ensured a repeat of their previous regime (1996-2001), when they had banned women from public spaces and confined them to homes based on a strict social code known as Pashtunwali, linked to a regressive interpretation of Islam. EFE


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