Finally, the girls would be educated again.
When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August, the education of the country’s youth was already on ice for epidemic reasons. On the other hand, boys and young men were soon allowed to return to school. As large parts of the world, condemning the takeover of the extremist fundamentalist movement, demand better conditions for girls and women now than during the previous Taliban years (1996-2001), many believe that the Taliban simply cannot deny girls the right to go to school.
The Taliban regime, for example, said its policy on women was now “softer”, and while they campaigned for the world to drop sanctions and no longer keep Afghan money frozen, they also promised to educate all girls.
Recently, a few weeks ago, representatives from the Ministry of Education openly said that soon all boys and girls will be allowed to go to school again, says Berenice van den Dreisch, who leads advocacy work for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Kabul, Afghanistan.
And on Wednesday it’s time. Girls in large parts of the country were preparing to go back to school for the first time in several months. Some had already gone to the classroom when the disappointing news came. Only young girls were allowed to continue the school day. Girls in the corresponding sixth grade and above were sent home again.
– It was the religious leader in Kandahar who made the decision, says Yasmin Sharif, head of the United Nations Global Fund for Education in Crisis, Education cannot wait.
When Yasmin Sharif was in Kabul last fall, she met representatives of the Taliban-led Ministry of Education to demand that girls be allowed to graduate from high school. She was upbeat after the meeting, and many of the students seemed really positive about girls’ education. Some had their own daughters and wanted to educate them.
– The promise is perjured, says the sheriff now.
Some schools, especially those in urban areas and/or affiliated with foreign charities, still teach older girls. But even before the new ban was announced, there were several obstacles to educating older girls. Some regional leaders voluntarily refused to allow girls to attend school, even when it had previously been allowed from a central location.
The Taliban also does not want to allow men to train girls, but the number of female teachers is relatively small. For many public sector workers, wages have also been absent since the Taliban seized power and Afghan funds abroad have been frozen.
Four million children in Afghanistan do not go to school, according to UNICEF. The majority of those, 60 percent, are girls.
Religious leaders do not know what Afghanistan needs. If they continue down this path, no government or organization will provide support, says Yasmine Sharif.
The Taliban’s ideology combines an extremist and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with the ancient cultural symbol of Pashtunwali, named after the Pashtun ethnic group who form the backbone of the Taliban.
The word Taliban originally means student or student in the Pashto language.
The movement was officially born in 1994, but the foundation was previously laid in the Pakistani refugee camps where many Afghans fled the Soviet invasion in 1979.
After the defeat and withdrawal of the Soviet Union in 1989, the warlords who fought the invasion, with the support of the United States, began to turn their weapons against each other.
The Taliban promised to replace chaos with order. In 1996, the movement occupied the capital, Kabul. It controlled large parts of the country until the US-led invasion in 2001.
The Taliban’s exercise of power at that time was conservative, brutal and arbitrary. Music was banned, executions were carried out in front of the public, and women’s freedom was severely restricted. Women were prevented from moving freely outside the home and girls’ education was halted.
On August 15, 2021, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.
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