Why Did The Taliban Ban Education?


Why Did The Taliban Ban Education
Taliban Reversal on Girls’ Education Ignites World’s Anger For days, teenage girls wearing their school uniforms have marched in protest in Kabul after the Taliban reneged on a pledge to finally reopen secondary schools for female students, a move that appears to have forced a reappraisal in Western capitals about the true nature of the extremist regime.

On March 23, after a seven-month hiatus, girls across the country broke out their black tunics and trousers and white headscarves to return to class for the start of the new school year, only to be sent home within hours. For teenage girls who’d been anticipating their return to school, the last-minute reversal was too much to bear.

Tears turned to anger, and on Friday and Saturday, dozens of female students braved the very real possibility of arrest and beatings to put on their uniforms, march in the street, and shout slogans condemning the ban. They gathered near the Ministry of Education, some holding their textbooks, others waving banners reading, “Education is our fundamental right, not a political plan.” They chanted “Open the schools! Justice! Justice!” until Taliban gunmen arrived and they fled.

  • Even the Prophet said everyone has the right to education, but the Taliban have snatched this right from us,” a girl named Nawesa was quoted as saying in the,
  • For days, teenage girls wearing their school uniforms have marched in protest in Kabul after the Taliban reneged on a pledge to finally reopen secondary schools for female students, a move that appears to have forced a reappraisal in Western capitals about the true nature of the extremist regime.

On March 23, after a seven-month hiatus, girls across the country broke out their black tunics and trousers and white headscarves to return to class for the start of the new school year, only to be sent home within hours. For teenage girls who’d been anticipating their return to school, the last-minute reversal was too much to bear.

  1. Tears turned to anger, and on Friday and Saturday, dozens of female students braved the very real possibility of arrest and beatings to put on their uniforms, march in the street, and shout slogans condemning the ban.
  2. They gathered near the Ministry of Education, some holding their textbooks, others waving banners reading, “Education is our fundamental right, not a political plan.” They chanted “Open the schools! Justice! Justice!” until Taliban gunmen arrived and they fled.

“Even the Prophet said everyone has the right to education, but the Taliban have snatched this right from us,” a girl named Nawesa was quoted as saying in the, Outrage from Western governments over the Taliban’s sudden about-face on education stands in stark contrast to the relative silence that has greeted the extremist group’s abuses of human rights and wholesale rollback of progress since they retook power last August.

  • The United States and other Western governments said the move imperiled the Taliban’s coveted recognition as Afghanistan’s legitimate government; Washington canceled some meetings with the Taliban and said the decision could impact bilateral contact.
  • We have canceled some of our engagements, including planned meetings in Doha, and made clear that we see this decision as a potential turning point in our engagement,” a U.S.

State Department spokesperson told, More retributive measures could follow, another source close to the State Department told Foreign Policy, A by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, and the European Union called for the decision to be reversed.

  1. It would “profoundly harm Afghanistan’s prospects for social cohesion and economic growth, its ambition to become a respected member in the community of nations, and the willingness of Afghans to return from overseas,” it said.
  2. It will have an inevitable impact on the Taliban’s prospects of gaining political support and legitimacy either at home or abroad.

Every Afghan citizen, boy or girl, man or woman, has an equal right to an education at all levels, in all provinces of the country,” it added. The decision to shut down girls’ secondary education came as members of the Taliban’s interim cabinet met in the southern city of Kandahar to plot a course to diplomatic recognition, which could bring much-needed funding to alleviate Afghanistan’s economic collapse and widespread poverty and hunger.

  • Women’s rights and education of girls were not discussed, sources with knowledge of the agenda said.
  • The people that matter in the group are against educating girls and women.
  • I don’t see this decision changing,” said Ali Mohammad Ali, an analyst and researcher on Afghanistan.
  • Instead, I think they’re playing for time, knowing that most people around the world who say they care will move on to other things and forget about this issue,” he added.

“I have a hard time believing there are significant divisions within the Taliban that would challenge this ban.” “This is why it is essential for the international community to press on this issue in line with democratic and human rights principles, and contrary to some countries like Russia and China, which are intent on appeasing the Taliban and challenging the values the international community painstakingly fostered in Afghanistan,” Ali said.

What we are seeing play out on the ground is essentially a struggle for dominance of values that will shape Afghan society and its relationship with the international community for generations to come.” Although women’s rights and human rights are high-profile issues for the world outside Afghanistan, the Taliban are likely more unified than divided on repression, justified with vague references to Islam.

Excuses for sending girls home on March 23 included the curriculum and uniform that apparently need to accord more closely to the Taliban’s version of the religion they claim to be honoring. With March designated as Women’s History Month, the Taliban’s opposition to educating girls is a timely reminder that countries that invest in girls’ education are more likely to be peaceful, prosperous, and progressive than those that do not.

  1. UNICEF that 129 million girls are not in school worldwide, including 32 million of primary age and 97 million of secondary age.
  2. The agency has found that investment in girls’ education leads to higher national growth rates, lower rates of child marriage and child mortality, lower maternal mortality, and increased lifetime earnings for women.

“The Taliban are so afraid of women’s education,” said an Afghan father of two, a boy and a girl at primary school, who asked that his name not be used. “If you have an educated mother, her sons won’t go to madrassas to be brainwashed. Educated women undercut the power of the Taliban, who just want to breed future generations of jihadists.” Since Aug.15, 2021, when the Taliban overthrew the U.S-backed Afghan republic, the Taliban have rolled back women’s rights guaranteed by the country’s constitution and detained and beaten women who have protested.

  • Some have been killed, their bodies mutilated; rumors of gang rapes are difficult to verify due to a tendency to blame women rather than their attackers.
  • Leading Taliban figures repeatedly say women are inferior to men and have largely barred them from work and public life—all echoes of the way the Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, when they were forcibly ejected by the United States and its allies.

“The Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education are largely the same as when they ruled in 1996-2001,” a report said, “The excuses for closing girls’ schools are disingenuous: the goal is to block girls from studying indefinitely. It’s the same pattern as in the late 1990s; pretextual excuses, promises, betrayals, lies, new promises, more lies.” Widespread rights abuses over the past seven months have elicited only feeble rebukes and scant action from the international community, including the United Nations, which issued a on March 23 expressing “regrets.” But international organizations had pressed the Taliban to restore educational opportunities for young women, with institutions like the World Bank pressing for equal education in return for the release of funds frozen by U.S.

  • Sanctions.
  • The announcement by the Taliban’s Ministry of Education in mid-March of a resumption of classes for high school girls was greeted as a breakthrough.
  • It quickly became a letdown.
  • For Shukria Barakzai, a journalist, politician, and women’s rights activist until leaving Afghanistan amid threats days after the republic’s fall, there were no surprises in the Taliban’s duplicity.

“I was not surprised because I don’t trust them,” she said. “But I was surprised that the world was surprised. It was clear that they are not reliable. They broke their agreements from the start; they are not the ones to fulfill their promises.” “But I am proud, despite all the injustices, in the way girls deliver their message, the way they challenge the Taliban,” she added.
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Why does Taliban ban education for girls?

Muslim Scholars, Activists: Taliban Ban on Girls’ Education Not Justified Washington — The Taliban have portrayed their leader’s ban on secondary education for Afghan women and girls as based in religious principles, but Muslim scholars and activists say gender-based denial of education has no religious justification.

  • The unseen leader of the so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has kept mum despite growing demands from across the Muslim world to lift his ban on secondary education for Afghan girls.
  • Officials in the Taliban government’s Ministry of Education say they stand ready to reopen schools for all girls anytime Akhundzada orders.

But the reclusive Taliban leader, who carries the religious title of “Commander of the Faithful,” has ignored repeated calls — even from many Afghan Islamic clerics — to reconsider his decision. “Islam is the bearer of rights for women, including the rights to education and work,” a group of clerics in Kabul said on Tuesday while calling for the reopening of secondary schools for girls.

  1. It was the clerics’ second such demand in less than a month.
  2. Prominent individual scholars have made similar calls while citing Islamic legal jurisprudence in support of education and work for women.
  3. There is not a single problem with females’ education,” said Sheikh Faqirullah Faiq, a leading Islamic scholar in Afghanistan, in an audio message last month.

He said he was speaking on behalf of many other Muslim scholars.

  • Akhundzada, who has ultimate and undisputed power in the Taliban regime, has not given a reason or justification for his opposition to girls’ education, but in his terse written decrees, which are widely circulated by Taliban officials, he has always insisted that his decisions are strictly in accordance with Islamic verses.
  • Global calls
  • From the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the councils of religious scholars in several Muslim countries, a chorus of Muslim voices has opposed the ban on girls’ education.
  • “Following the decision by the de facto government of Afghanistan to maintain an earlier ban on girls’ schools, the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation expresses its deep disappointment over this unexpected decision,” the organization tweeted on March 24.

The ban on girls’ education has no Islamic justification, according to Daisy Khan, founder and executive director of Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality. “Islam places great emphasis on the pursuit of knowledge,” she told VOA. “The Taliban’s recent ban on secondary education for girls is unacceptable and is clearly contrary to Islamic teachings.

  1. They say that as the head of an Islamic state, the Taliban leader must consult with and listen to his people and the wider Muslim community.
  2. The Taliban government “must seek the counsel of those who serve the public daily — the ulema who understand the plight of their people, and civil society organizations who understand social dilemmas facing people,” Khan said.
  3. Tribal culture?
  4. While describing it un-Islamic, some experts say the Taliban leader’s opposition to girls’ education might be shaped by Afghanistan’s patriarchal tribal traditions.
  5. “Unfortunately, misogynistic customs and practices — including in Muslim-majority countries like Afghanistan — have continued to propel the domination of men over girls and women, with the Taliban’s un-Islamic prohibition on girls’ education being one manifestation,” said Zainab Chaudry, a spokesperson and director of the Maryland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nongovernmental civil rights and advocacy group in the United States.
  6. Having some of the worst health, economic and social indicators for women in the world, Afghanistan was reported to be the worst country for women even before the Taliban’s return to power.
  7. “Cultural edicts and practices that conflict with religious obligations are not permissible in Islam,” Chaudry told VOA.

Imtiaz, the spokesman for the Islamic Society of North America, said cultural restrictions that make it difficult for Muslim women to pursue work and education “are unacceptable. In a hadith, the Prophet Muhammad is known to have said, ‘The best of you are those who are best to your women.’ In no way are we honoring and benefiting women if we place unfair restrictions on their ability to flourish.”

  • History of defiance
  • Taliban leaders have a history of defying global calls to change their controversial decisions.
  • Despite widespread international outcry for the protection of sixth-century Buddha statues carved into a cliff in central Afghanistan, former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had the giant historic monuments destroyed in 2001, alleging it was his Islamic duty.

Like his predecessor, the current Taliban leader has virtually unlimited power within the country and is accountable to no one. As such, he alone decides the fate of the Afghan girls’ secondary education and the rights of Afghan women to work. : Muslim Scholars, Activists: Taliban Ban on Girls’ Education Not Justified
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When did the Taliban ban education for girls?

Why did you want to do this project? – I joined Human Rights Watch in November to assist with research and advocacy for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, I go to bed feeling nostalgic, and I wake up in rage. I am nostalgic for the difficult but hopeful days we had in Afghanistan when we genuinely believed in change.

  1. But today, we are fighting for the bare minimum.
  2. And I feel enraged when I wake up every day thinking, how is it we are fighting for something as basic as girls’ right to education in 2022? I did this project because I am extremely concerned for the present and future of girls in Afghanistan.
  3. On March 23, when the Taliban refused to allow girls to go to secondary school, like everyone else I felt devastated.

As an Afghan woman, it is clear to me that education has changed my life and fate. I would have been a different person, trapped in a different destiny, had I not had the chance to get an education. This is the case for many Afghan women that I know and admire.

Through education we not only changed our fates but the fates of people around us. That is something I would never take lightly. Because of war and the Taliban’s takeover in the 1990s, many people – especially women – are illiterate. When the Taliban took over then, a generation of girls lost at least five years of school and an opportunity to learn, thrive, and become.

Nobody acknowledged the harm, no one understood the pain, no one was held accountable. I am worried the same thing will happen again if we don’t join forces and take action.
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Does Taliban ban education?

Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Image source, Getty Images Image caption, Women are not allowed to apply to study many subjects at universities under the new rules “I went to the entrance exam with lots of hope. But when I saw the selection paper, I couldn’t find my favourite subject,” says a tearful Fatima.

The 19-year-old is a student from Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan. The BBC is not using her real name for her safety. Fatima’s dreams of pursuing a career in journalism have been put in jeopardy because of a new order by the country’s Taliban rulers. A year after banning most teenage girls from attending school, the Taliban are imposing sweeping restrictions on which courses women can enrol in at public universities.

“I dreamed of being a journalist. I wanted to work on radio and TV. I want to fight for women’s rights,” Fatima told the BBC. She did not get to complete her final year at school as girls were banned from high school by the Taliban after they seized power in August 2021.

  1. The militant group have said the correct “Islamic environment” needs to be created for older girls to be allowed back into schools, but more than a year after they returned to power this still has not happened in most provinces, with reports suggesting hardliners in the group remain opposed to it.
  2. Image source, Getty Images Image caption, Some universities put up screens to comply with the Taliban’s rules on gender segregation But the Taliban did make the decision that girls who were in the last year of school could also sit university entrance exams.

Fatima’s excitement was short-lived however. The Taliban concession came with limitations on the subjects women, but not men, could choose. For instance, at Nangarhar University where Fatima hoped to study journalism, in the province neighbouring hers, girls are now given the right to choose from only seven of 13 faculties.

Women are not permitted to take subjects like journalism, agriculture, veterinary medicine, engineering or economics. “All their hopes are gone now,” says Fatima, of the girls who would have pursued studies in these areas if they’d passed the entrance exam. Image source, Getty Images Image caption, Female students in the capital – Kabul University and others reopened in the spring following the Taliban takeover She and the other female students were given the option of taking a test in subjects such as nursing, midwifery or literature, which are among the courses on offer at the seven faculties open to them at Nangarhar.

University professors who supervised the entrance examination there confirmed to the BBC that boys would be allowed to choose any subject they want. “The selection paper was not given to us in advance. When we – a group of about 10 girls – saw the paper and couldn’t find the faculties we wanted, we all broke down in tears,” Fatima recounted.

The choice for female students can vary from university to university, and depending on which part of the country you’re in, the BBC has found. Women are allowed to take medicine and nursing in all provinces, as well as teacher training and Islamic studies. But veterinary science, engineering, economics and agriculture appear off-limits to women nationwide, while opportunities to study journalism are extremely limited.

It has been a tough journey for Fatima and her friends. Since schools were shut to them, they have had to prepare for university entrance at home. Fatima organised group studies with other girls. “In our area there are no opportunities to take tuition classes.

They were all closed.” Image source, Getty Images Image caption, There have been numerous protests in Afghanistan demanding access to education Officials expect 100,000 students (including 30,000 women) to take university entrance exams in Afghanistan this year. The academic year starts either in March or August, and it usually takes two to three months for entrance exam results to be announced.

Now, with the Taliban back in power, nobody is sure when the results will be released. Male and female students have been taking the exams separately – in line with Taliban rules on segregating students by gender – for example boys in the morning, girls in the afternoon or by using screens in exam halls.

  • In some provinces where the candidate numbers were high, entrance exams were held over two or three days.
  • Activists say the number of female students applying for university will fall dramatically in the coming years, unless the Taliban reopen secondary schools to girls from grades 6 to 12.
  • In Laghman province last year nearly 1,200 girls took the test while this year the number had fallen to just 182 girls.
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Image source, Getty Images Image caption, There are fears that numbers of female university entrants will drop sharply Taliban officials are downplaying the restrictions. Abdul Qadir Khamush, who heads the examinations division in the Ministry of Higher Education, says girls can choose their favourite subject, with the exception of just three or four.

  • We need to provide separate classes for women.
  • In some areas the number of female candidates are low.
  • So we are not allowing women to apply for certain courses.” Officials are yet to reveal the number of university places on offer this year.
  • Afghanistan’s education sector was badly affected after the Taliban takeover and there has been an exodus of trained academics after the withdrawal of US-led forces last year.

The country’s economy has been largely dependent on foreign aid in recent decades, but aid agencies have partly – and in some cases fully – withdrawn support to the education sector after the Taliban refused to allow girls into all secondary schools.

Many of the teaching staff who remain go unpaid for months. Image source, Getty Images Image caption, The Taliban have reduced women’s ability to learn and earn Taliban restrictions on which subjects girls can study are not always uniformly applied across the country, the BBC has discovered. For instance, in Kabul University, girls are still allowed on some courses in the journalism faculty.

But Fatima cannot circumvent the rules by applying to universities in places as far away as the capital. The Taliban have divided the country into a number of zones and girls are not allowed to study outside them, in what amounts to another very serious restriction based on sex.

I can only study what they offer me. I have no option,” says Fatima, but she has not quite given up on her dream. “If the government changes its policy next year, I will choose journalism.” But if that doesn’t happen, she and other girls like her will have no option other than to study what the Taliban let them if they want to go to university.

For the tens of thousands of teenage girls currently being denied a secondary education – even that choice may not be open in future.
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What did the Taliban say about girls education?

Senior member of Afghanistan’s Taliban-run government urges rulers to reopen secondary schools for girls, saying ‘women must get education’. A senior member of the Taliban-run government in Afghanistan has called on the country’s new rulers to reopen schools for girls beyond the sixth year, saying there is no valid reason in Islam for the ban.

The appeal from Taliban Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai on Tuesday came during a Taliban gathering in Kabul. It was a rare moderate voice amid the harsh measures imposed by the Taliban since they overran the country and seized power in August 2021. Since returning to power, the Taliban has shut down girls’ secondary schools across the country, ordered women to wear hijabs in the workplace and to cover their faces in public, and has banned women from travelling long distances without a close male relative.

The Taliban have said they are working on a plan to open secondary schools for girls but have not given a timeframe. The United Nations has called the ban ” shameful ” and the international community has been wary of officially recognising the Taliban, fearing a return to the same harsh rule the Taliban imposed when they were last in power in the late 1990s.

  1. It is very important that education must be provided to all, without any discrimination,” Stanikzai said.
  2. Women must get an education, there is no Islamic prohibition for girls’ education.” “Let’s not provide opportunities for others to create a gap between the government and people,” he added.
  3. If there are technical issues, that needs to be resolved, and schools for girls must be opened.” Stanikzai was once head of the Taliban team in talks that led to the 2020 agreement in Qatar between the Taliban and the United States that included the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

His remarks followed the Taliban appointment of a new education minister, days after the UN called on them to reopen schools for girls. The UN has estimated that more than one million girls have been barred from attending most middle schools and high schools during the past year.

  • The ban targets female students in years seven to 12, primarily affecting girls aged 12 to 18.
  • The ban has drawn international condemnation and sanctions,
  • The Taliban has defended its decision, saying such restrictions have been done to preserve “national interest” and women’s “honour”.
  • A year after the Taliban took over the country as the Western-backed government and military crumbled, the UN has said it is increasingly concerned that restrictions on girls’ education, as well as other measures curtailing basic freedoms, would deepen Afghanistan’s economic crisis and lead to greater insecurity, poverty, and isolation.

The country has been reeling from a humanitarian crisis with more than half of the population facing hunger, amid Western-imposed sanctions, as well as the freezing of humanitarian aid and nearly $10bn in Afghan central bank assets. Source : Al Jazeera and news agencies
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Why can’t girls study in Afghanistan?

Only 16 per cent of Afghanistan’s schools are girls-only, and many of them lack proper sanitation facilities, which further hinders attendance. Certain sociocultural factors and traditional beliefs also undermine girls’ education. Girls continue to marry very young – 17 per cent before their 15th birthday.
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How did the Taliban treat girls?

In May, the Taliban decreed that women must cover their faces in public and instructed them to remain in their homes except in cases of necessity. Women are banned from travelling long distances without a male chaperone, and unchaperoned women are increasingly being denied access to essential services.
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Why did the Taliban take away womens rights?

Employment – The Taliban disagreed with past Afghan statutes that allowed the employment of Afghan women in a mixed sex workplace. The claim was that this was a breach of purdah and Sharia law, On September 30, 1996, the Taliban decreed that all women should be banned from employment.

It is estimated that 25 percent of government employees were female, and when compounded by losses in other sectors, many thousands of women were affected. Another loss was for those whom the employed women served. Elementary education of all children, not just girls, was shut down in Kabul, where virtually all of the elementary school teachers were women.

Thousands of educated families fled Kabul for Pakistan after the Taliban took the city in 1996. : 106  Taliban Supreme Leader Mohammed Omar assured female civil servants and teachers they would still receive wages of around US$5 per month, although this was a short-term offering.

A Taliban representative stated: “The Taliban’s act of giving monthly salaries to 30,000 job-free women, now sitting comfortably at home, is a whiplash in the face of those who are defaming Taliban with reference to the rights of women. These people through baseless propaganda are trying to incite the women of Kabul against the Taliban”.

The Taliban promoted the use of the extended family, or zakat system of charity to ensure women should not need to work. However, years of conflict meant that nuclear families often struggled to support themselves let alone aid additional relatives. Qualification for legislation often rested on men, such as food aid, which had to be collected by a male relative.

  • The possibility that a woman may not possess any living male relatives was dismissed by Mullah Ghaus, the acting foreign minister, who said he was surprised at the degree of international attention and concern for such a small percentage of the Afghan population.
  • A Physicians for Human Rights researcher that traveled to Kabul in 1998 described “a city of beggars” filled with “women who had once been teachers and nurses now moving in the streets like ghosts under their enveloping burqas, selling every possession and begging so as to feed their children.” : 3  Female health professionals were exempted from the employment ban, yet they operated in much-reduced circumstances.

The ordeal of physically getting to work due to the segregated bus system and widespread harassment meant some women left their jobs by choice. Of those who remained, many lived in fear of the regime and chose to reside at hospitals during the working week to minimize exposure to Taliban forces.

These women were vital to ensuring the continuance of gynecological, ante-natal, and midwifery services, but it was on a much-compromised level. Under the Rabbani regime, there had been around 200 female staff working in Kabul’s Mullalai Hospital, yet barely 50 remained under the Taliban. NGOs operating in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 found the shortage of female health professionals to be a significant obstacle to their work.

The other exception to the employment ban allowed a reduced number of humanitarian workers to remain in service. The Taliban segregation codes meant that women were invaluable for gaining access to vulnerable women or conducting outreach research. This exception was not sanctioned by the entire Taliban movement, so instances of female participation, or lack thereof, varied with each circumstance.

The city of Herat was particularly affected by Taliban adjustments to the treatment of women, as it had been one of the more cosmopolitan and outward-looking areas of Afghanistan prior to 1995. Women had previously been allowed to work in a limited range of jobs, but this was stopped by Taliban authorities.

The new governor of Herat, Mullah Razzaq, issued orders for women to be forbidden to pass his office for fear of their distracting nature. : 243  On 19 May 2022, the Taliban rulers ordered all female TV presenters to cover their faces on air. The directive came from the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which replaced the country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.
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What are girls in Afghanistan not allowed to do?

One year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, women and girls have been effectively removed from the Afghani public life. On August 15, 2021, the Taliban entered Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and took control of the country. While initially, the Taliban promised that women would be able to “exercise their rights within Sharia law “, including being able to work and study, these promises were merely empty words and the women and girls began to disappear from the public square.

As Angelina Jolie emphasized, “Overnight, 14 million Afghan women and girls lost their right to go to high school or university, their right to work, and their freedom of movement.” Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, stressed that ” is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to high school.” She further added that “there are no women in the Taliban’s cabinet, no Ministry of Women’s Affairs, thereby effectively removing women’s right to political participation.

Women are, for the most part, also restricted from working outside the home, and are required to cover their faces in public and to have a male chaperone when they travel.” As it stands, the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan is unlikely to change anytime soon.

  • A woman walks past a mural calling for women and children’s rights in Afghanistan on August 12,,2022, in Bamian, Afghanistan.
  • The collapse of the economy and the freezing of Afghan and donor funds after the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021 created a humanitarian crisis.
  • Most art, culture and pastimes have been banned.

The female population have also had to quit jobs and young girls after the age of 12 can no longer go to school or complete further education. (Photo credit: Nava Jamshid/Getty Images) Getty Images Women were barred from most jobs outside the home. According to one of the restrictions imposed at the end of 2021, only women whose jobs could not be done by men were allowed to come to work, for example, limited jobs in education, health, and some policing jobs.

  • According to the same announcement, the only jobs that women were allowed to do for the Kabul government was to clean female bathrooms.
  • And indeed, to this day, women hold no cabinet positions in the de facto administration, or any other positions of power.
  • The de facto administration abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and by doing so, ultimately removed women from political participation.

Women judges, prosecutors, and lawyers have fled the country or been sidelined and replaced by former Taliban fighters and madrasa graduates without any legal training. The Taliban has banned girls from secondary education, grades 7-12. Contrary to prior commitments, the de facto authorities did not allow girls back to secondary schools.

This affects over 1.1. million girls in Afghanistan. The UN reports that girls in some districts are able to attend schools, however, there is no universal access to education. Without access to such education, girls are at a higher risk of child marriage and abuse. The Taliban imposed restrictions on women’s movement.

In May 2022, the de facto authorities imposed a decree requiring women to wear Islamic hijab and fully cover their faces when outside. They were not to leave their homes unless it was necessary. If women were to breach the decree, their male relatives would be punished.

  1. As such, male relatives became responsible for enforcing the decree.
  2. Women are also banned from traveling long distances (more than 45 miles) without a male chaperone.
  3. Unchaperoned women are often denied access to essential services.
  4. The Taliban have been responding with violence to women’s protests even though such protests are nowadays very rare.

Women protesters have been facing threats, intimidation, arrests and torture. In August 2022, during a protest of some 40 women, the Taliban dispersed the crowds firing into the air. The last year was a dark time for women and girls in Afghanistan. Women and girls in Afghanistan need the international community to continue fighting for their rights and put pressure on the de facto authorities in Afghanistan – to ensure future for the millions of women and girls deprived of this future at this moment.
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Are girls allowed to study in Afghanistan?

Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Girls enter a school before class in Kabul on Sept.12, 2021. In a surprise decision, the hardline leadership of Afghanistan’s new rulers has decided against opening educational institutions to girls beyond sixth grade. Felipe Dana/AP hide caption toggle caption Felipe Dana/AP Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Girls enter a school before class in Kabul on Sept.12, 2021. In a surprise decision, the hardline leadership of Afghanistan’s new rulers has decided against opening educational institutions to girls beyond sixth grade. Felipe Dana/AP KABUL, Afghanistan — In a morning of tears and anger, the Taliban on Wednesday reneged on a promise to allow Afghan girls to attend secondary school, as thousands of them turned up at their old school gates in tidy uniforms and carrying their school bags. The abrupt about-face revived worries that the Taliban might keep teenage girls away from education indefinitely. When the militant religious movement first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, girls were not allowed to study. “Some of my classmates began weeping,” said Sakina Jafari, an 18-year-old who hoped to resume her year 11 classes.

We were so excited to return. And now we don’t know what will happen to us.” Another young woman who spoke to Afghan news outlet TOLO burst into tears as she described being turned away after waiting 186 days – she had counted – for school to resume. “What is our crime? That we are girls?” she raged.

Amid widespread condemnation, the Taliban gave no indication of when these classrooms might reopen. Most girls and young women have been prevented from attending secondary school since the Taliban swept to power in August. Afghanistan’s new rulers reopened schools for boys, and for girls up to the 6th grade.

  1. They subsequently allowed women to attend college under strict segregation from male students and a rigidly-enforced dress code.
  2. But secondary school remained off limits.
  3. However, Taliban officials said Monday that they would allow all students — including girls at the secondary education level — to attend classes beginning Wednesday, the start of the Afghan new year.

But just as the girls turned up to their school gates, they were sent home by Taliban officials who told them to wait for an official announcement. One senior official insisted the Taliban had not reneged but needed more time to decide on a school uniform for teenage girls.

  1. There is no issue of banning girls from schools,” said Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s permanent ambassador-designate to the United Nations in response to a question by NPR.
  2. It is only a technical issue of deciding on form of school uniform for girls.
  3. We hope the uniform issue is resolved and finalized as soon as possible.” That was echoed by one Kabul school teacher, who requested anonymity because she didn’t want to anger Taliban officials.

She said that as girls entered her classroom, the principal immediately headed them off, saying, “‘Don’t come in here until we’ve got official permission. And when you come back, you have to wear a black face veil, a black chador and a black scarf.'” The teacher says her students were distressed. Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Afghan students leave classes in a primary school in Kabul, on March 27, 2021. Rahmat Gul/AP hide caption toggle caption Rahmat Gul/AP Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Afghan students leave classes in a primary school in Kabul, on March 27, 2021. Rahmat Gul/AP The phrase “culture and traditions” is often shorthand in the Muslim world for imposing rules that deny women their rights under Islam on the basis that local culture does not permit it.

  • Islamic teaching and practice encourages men and women to study and learn.
  • Western countries have made girls returning to school a key condition for restarting aid to the cash-strapped Afghan government.
  • These donors largely cut off aid after the U.S.
  • Withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban seized power.

For others, allowing Afghan girls to receive an education is a prerequisite for recognizing the Taliban’s rule. “I deeply regret today’s announcement by Taliban authorities in Afghanistan that girls’ education from the sixth grade has been suspended until further notice,” said the U.N. The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ian McCary tweeted that he was “deeply troubled ” by the policy reversal. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the face by a Taliban fighter in Pakistan for her advocacy over girl’s education, said she was disappointed,
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Does the Taliban allow girls in school?

After the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, they shut down schools for girls over 6th grade, effectively barring women from getting an education. The decision to keep schools shut for older girls has drawn widespread international condemnation, and has been an obstacle to Afghanistan receiving desperately-needed financial assistance.
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Why does Taliban mean student?

AFGHAN TALIBAN – The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist nationalist and pro-Pashtun movement founded in the early 1990s that ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until October 2001. The movement’s founding nucleus—the word “Taliban” is Pashto for “students”—was composed of peasant farmers and men studying Islam in Afghan and Pakistani madrasas, or religious schools.

The Taliban found a foothold and consolidated their strength in southern Afghanistan. By 1994, the Taliban had moved their way through the south, capturing several provinces from various armed factions who had been fighting a civil war after the Soviet-backed Afghan government fell in 1992. By September 1996, the Taliban had captured Kabul, killed the country’s president, and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s first move was to institute a strict interpretation of Qur‘anic instruction and jurisprudence. In practice, this meant often merciless policies on the treatment of women, political opponents of any type, and religious minorities. Mullah Mohammad Omar (DECEASED) In the years leading up to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, the Taliban provided a safe haven for al-Qa‘ida. This gave al-Qa‘ida a base in which it could freely recruit, train, and deploy terrorists to other countries.

The Taliban held sway in Afghanistan until October 2001, when they were routed from power by the US-led campaign against al-Qa‘ida. In arguably the most significant development in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region since the May 2011 death of al-Qa‘ida founder Usama Bin Ladin, the Taliban in July 2015 revealed that its reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had died in 2013.

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Omar, who was the president of Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule and a major Bin Ladin supporter, was wanted by the US Government through the Rewards for Justice program. Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansur, who was Omar’s second-in-command, in early August 2015 was selected as the new Taliban leader. Why Did The Taliban Ban Education Taliban flag The Afghan Taliban are responsible for most insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, which follow an established pattern of regular low-level ambush and hit-and-run attacks, coupled with periodic high-profile attacks. The Taliban have been moving aggressively in many parts of the country, evidenced by the fact that suicide and complex attacks increased by 78 percent countrywide in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014.

  1. The Taliban between 7 and 10 August 2015 conducted a series of attacks in quick succession in Kabul that resulted in at least 60 deaths, marking the deadliest stretch in the capital since the US-led invasion in 2001.
  2. In the first attack, a suicide bomber detonated a large truck bomb in a residential area while attempting to target an Afghan Defense Ministry building, killing 15 civilians and wounding up to 400 others.

On its own, the explosion caused an unprecedented number of casualties from a single attack in the capital in recent years—the Taliban is widely suspected of having conducted the attack although they did not claim responsibility for it because of the massive civilian casualties.

Less than 24 hours later, over 40 cadets and civilians were killed when a suicide bomber dressed in police uniform blew himself up at the entrance of Kabul Police Academy. Later that day a Taliban squad targeted Resolute Support Mission installation Camp Integrity, killing at least nine, including one NATO serviceman.

On 10 August a Taliban suicide bomber plowed a car into a checkpoint near the entrance to Kabul International Airport, killing at least 5 and wounding 15.
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How does the Taliban affect education?

Female Education in Afghanistan After the Return of the Taliban It has been over eight months since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, but it is still not clear how the Taliban are going to rule or how they are going to be accepted on the world stage.

  • However, some things are beginning to become clear.
  • It appears that the Taliban may be more conservative and draconian than was first predicted.
  • The killing and oppression of religious and ethnic minorities continues, and despite promises to the contrary women are still not allowed to go to school beyond sixth grade and neither are they allowed to work or travel without a male escort.

Public education in Afghanistan for both boys and girls has been a major requirement by NGOs and governments for resuming financial and material assistance to Afghanistan. When the Taliban took power in August 2021, they announced that education for both boys and girls beyond the 6 th grade would be suspended, but would resume after the Afghan new year, that is March 23, 2022.

  1. The Taliban said that it needed time to revise the school curriculum so that it would better reflect Islamic values, and so that a female curriculum and school uniforms for women could be developed.
  2. The Taliban also ruled that only women could teach women’s classes in high schools and universities.
  3. It also announced that university courses could be coed, but that there would need to be a physical partition between the female and male students (Jackson, 2022).

Further on September 17, 2021, the Taliban announced that schools would open as planned, but in the announcement only schools for males were mentioned. It appeared that no decision had been made regarding women’s education. Then in January 2022 Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Zabiullah Mujahid told the Associated Press that the government hoped to open all schools by March 23, 2022, apparently including schools for females.

  1. He also emphasized that Afghanistan did not have the capacity to support education across Afghanistan and asked the donor community to help fund Afghan education.
  2. Then in January 2022, Taliban Acting Minister of Education, Nurulla Munir and Deputy Minister of Education Abdul Hakim Hemat promised various international parties that the Taliban did not oppose female education and that older females, that is those twelve or older, could return to school once they could create a “safe environment for girls” (Jackson, 2022).

What a “safe environment for girls” actually meant was not clarified, but news that schools might reopen for women was well received by the international community. Many governments and NGOs, including the United States, promised to support education in Afghanistan if schooling for women was allowed.

Tom West, the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan, announced that the United States would pay the salaries of all teachers in Afghanistan if the Taliban reopened girls’ schools (West, 2022). Likewise, in early March of 2022 the World Bank pledged more than one million US dollars for aid to Afghanistan which would include support for education.

Other donors including the Educational Cluster, a coordinating body which includes UN agencies as well as Afghan and international NGOs, pledged to supported public education in Afghanistan if schools for women were opened (Jackson, 2022). It appeared in early 2022 that women’s education was a go.

Yet despite international pressure and the promised resources from the international community, on March 23, 2002, the Taliban leadership announced that girls’ schools would not open. This decision was announced at the last minute on the very day girl schools were to reopen. Many girls around the country had already gone to school that day excited that schools were reopening only to find that their school was closed.

This announcement also surprised many teachers who had gone to work expecting that their schools would reopen. Many young women and their families were shocked and deeply disappointed that the opportunity to attend school was blocked (Jackson, 2022). How the Taliban makes decisions is not well known.

  1. Clearly some of their decisions have been puzzling and seemingly in many cases self-defeating.
  2. The decision not to open schools for older girls beyond six grade was apparently made at a three-day leadership conference in the Taliban headquarters in Kandahar which began on March 20 th,
  3. According to the Etilaat-e Roz, an Afghan newspaper, (Jackson, 2022) the conference brought various segments of the Taliban leadership together to resolve issues that had been of growing concern among various factions, particularly tensions between the Taliban leadership in Kabul, which has to deal with international pressures, and the Taliban headquarters in Kandahar which is more isolated from international pressures.

Specifically, the Kandahar meeting was apparently meant to reemphasize the leadership of the ultimate leader of the Taliban, Haibatullalh Akhundzada, whose official title is the Amir ul-Mumenin, the Leader of the Faithful, and the Shura, or high religious council of Islamic scholars, that advises the Amir,

The leadership in Kandahar is considerably more conservative and isolated than the Taliban leadership in Kabul. The Kandahar Shura follows its own version of Islamic Sharia, while the Taliban leadership in Kabul must deal with the day-to-day issues that arise running the country and interacting with international parties.

In addition to women’s education, several other issues were decided at this conference. These include the requirement that men who work at government jobs must wear beards and Islamic dress to work, that city parks must be gender segregated, and that woman may not travel by air without an accompanying male relative, or Mahram.

  1. They also adopted the Taliban all-white flag as the national flag of Afghanistan.
  2. Apparently, one of the concerns the conservative members of the Taliban have regarding education for older women, that is women over 12 years old, has to do with proper dress or school uniforms.
  3. The Taliban have expressed concern that the school uniforms older girls wear to class may be too revealing and that they needed time to find the proper uniform for women to wear to class.

Several Afghan women educators have pointed out that this is a false issue. Pashtana Durrani, an education activist and founder of Learn Afghanistan, an Afghan NGO that promotes female education, pointed out that “the excuse over uniforms is a very last-minute attempt to hide internal disagreements”, and that the Taliban are grasping at branches.

  1. Do they need a fashion designer to help them decide the color and design for trousers and shirts” (Glinski, 2022).
  2. The issue of women’s public, that is non-madrasah or secular, education has been an issue for many decades in Afghanistan and is part of a larger debate about the proper role of women in Afghan society in general.

In the last twenty years during the time of the Islamic Republic and the American and international presence in Afghanistan, there seemed to be great progress of women in Afghanistan and their roles in Afghan society. But this progress may be more an illusion than a fact.

True, more women attended school than at any time previously and women were allowed to hold jobs previously thought only appropriate for men. During the Republic there were female professors, journalist, judges, doctors, TV personalities, and executives. There was even a female general in the Afghan Army, Khatool Mohammadzai who rose to the rank of Brigadier General (she was quickly removed by the Taliban).

And, while Afghan women continued to dress modestly, in the last twenty years the strict veiling of women found in traditional society had begun to change and women had greater freedom in what to wear. This women’s progress was especially seen in education.

In the past twenty years of the Republic more women than ever were able to attend school, including schooling beyond 6 th grade, and many women were able to obtain a college degree. Women’s literacy, while still below 50 percent, increased dramatically. More than 3.6 million girls were enrolled by 2018 – more than 2.5 million in primary school and over 1 million in secondary,

The increase in girls in secondary education was particularly marked, with nearly 40% enrolled in 2018 compared with 6% in 2003, according to the UN (Batha, 2022). Afghanistan housed over 49 colleges and universities, most; before the arrival of the Taliban, welcomed women students.

These colleges and universities include Kabul University which was closed by the previous Taliban government between 1996 and 2001 and reopened in 2002. Before the Taliban take over in 2021, Kabul University had 24,000 students, including many women students. Beginning in 2015, the University offered the first master’s degree courses in gender and women’s studies.

Other universities include American University of Afghanistan, which is sponsored by the American government, Polytechnical University in Kabul, Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, and Herat University, Herat. In total there are 17 public universities in Afghanistan and 2 private universities.

  1. Before the Taliban take over in 2021, most of these universities and colleges were open to female students.
  2. The American University of Afghanistan, which was housed for security reasons in the American Embassy compound, had 763 students of which 44 percent were female, and 42 full time faculty, of which 31 percent were female (Bickford, 2022).

With the arrival of the Taliban most, but not all, of the students were able to flee the country and AUA is now offering classes in Doha and Venice (Bickford, 2022). There are other educational alternatives for women. In the last decade several Islamic schools, madrassas, have opened in Afghanistan for women.

  1. They are mostly found in cities outside of Kabul in areas of Afghanistan where traditional Islamic values are strong (Azad, 2014).
  2. Ashraf-ul Madres madrassa in the city of Kunduz claims over 6,000 female students enrolled of all ages and was established by two influential mullahs in 2008.
  3. Unduz is in the Northeast corner of Afghanistan and is largely populated by Uzbek and Tajik ethnic groups.

The school is not sanctioned by the Taliban, but neither is it prohibited. The older students, that is over 12 years old, are required to wear clothing that covers their heads, faces, and eyes, and wear gloves and socks for Islamic purity. The school also teaches that listening to the radio, watching television, and taking photos is unIslamic and that women should not work outside the home.

  1. The curriculum includes memorizing the Koran and the Hadiths (the sayings of Mohammed and his followers), and other religious topics.
  2. There is little or no teaching of a modern curriculum such as mathematics, science, or other topics (Azad, 2014).
  3. It is not known how many religious schools for women exist in Afghanistan.

Most madrassas, or mosque schools, are strictly for men. Given the poor state of government schools in the last 20 years there has been a growth of private schools, including schools for girls. By 2020 there were 803 private schools in Afghanistan, teaching over 170,000 students of which 44 percent were women.

Over half of these private schools 420 were in Kabul and 124 in Herat (Sherani, 2014). These schools taught a variety of topics and many were specialized, for instance a school for cosmetology, while others offered a broader education. These schools were also shut down by the Taliban. While it seems that Afghan women have made great strides in education, this apparent progress in women’s education during the past 20 years of the Republic may be misleading.

The upper-classes in Kabul and a few other cities, such as Jalalabad and Herat, were able to make gains, but women in much of the country, especially in the rural areas and among the lower classes, did not. In fact, even after 20 years of governmental support and millions of dollars of international aid, in 2021 only 37 per cent of Afghan women could read and write, compared to 66 percent of boys (Batha, 2022).

  • The United Nations Development Program’s 2020 annual reports shows that Afghanistan is ranked 169 th in women’s education, one of the lowest in the world (UNDP, 2020).
  • One reason for this is corruption.
  • Much of the aid money for schools and educational facilities ended up in the pockets of corrupt Afghan officials and American contractors.

According to Reuters, officials in the Afghan Education Ministry, “embezzled millions of dollars from the international community” (Cooper, 2018). Bribes were being paid for schools to be licensed. It is reported that during the Republic teachers seeking jobs were required to pay $US 1000 in bribes to get a teaching position (Wilkes, 2017).

  1. Another reason for the lack of progress in women’s education is the traditional role females are expected to play in Afghan society.
  2. At its core Afghanistan is a conservative country where traditional ways of life are still valued and practiced.
  3. While many Afghans have moved to the urban centers, over 70 percent of Afghans still live in rural areas where traditional and conservative ways of life remain.

The Taliban represent these values. In traditional Afghan society, girls are allowed to be seen in public and therefore to attend school, until they enter puberty, that is about the age of 12 or 6 th grade. Beyond that age girls are considered nubile, that is sexually mature and able to bear children, and therefore should not be seen in public lest they attract men.

  1. The appearance of chastity, or purity, is important in traditional Afghan culture and a women’s value in marriage depends in large part on the degree to which she is seen as “pure”, that is untouched and unseen in public.
  2. In this conservative tradition, referred to as Purdah, which directly translate as screen or veil, involves the seclusion of women from public observation by means of concealing clothing, including the veil, and high walled family compounds.

Although Purdah is thought to be an Islamic practice, it is found in many traditional tribal societies. In addition, if women in this traditional custom, do go out in public, they must be accompanied by a mahram, a member of women’s family with whom marriage would be considered haram, that is illegal in Islamic culture.

  • These traditional beliefs regarding the restrictive role of women is still followed by many traditional Afghans, including the religious conservatives.
  • It also found among Afghans who live in tribal societies, particularly the Pashtun in southern Afghanistan, and less among other ethnic Afghans particularly the Hazara and the Tajiks who do not have a strong tribal social structure.

It is this belief, in part, that is has led the Taliban officials to prohibit schools for girls beyond 6 th grade. This of course would also exclude women from attending university or college. The concept of Purdah and the resulting limitations on the freedom of young women is beginning to change, especially those among the urban upper class.

  • The value of education for both men and women is growing in Afghanistan.
  • To this point, many of those in the Taliban leadership have daughters attending school, either in secretive private schools or abroad.
  • Many of the families of the Taliban leadership live abroad in Pakistan or in other Islamic countries, particularly Qatar, so that their daughters may attend school.

Despite promises to open schools for women, the Taliban reversed course and ruled that it will not allow women to attend school beyond the 6 th grade. During the 20 years of the prior government, there was a dramatic growth in educational opportunities for both men and women.

Yet Afghanistan remains a largely rural and conservative society in which young women are expected to remain secluded, a practice referred to as Purdah. As a result, the Taliban government remains isolated from international recognition and Afghans continue to suffer. Works Cited Alvin, L.P. (2022, February 9).

Afghans struggle with humanitarian crisis, millions on brink of starvation, Retrieved from ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/International/afghans-struggle-humanitarian-crisis-millions-brink-starvation/story?id=82685490 Batha, E. (2022, March 23). Taliban U-turn leaves Afghan girls shut out of school.

  1. Retrieved from Thomas Reuter Foundation: https://news.trust.org/item/20210831110425-cvykj/ Cooper, A.
  2. 2018, April 3).
  3. Corruption plagues Afghanistan’s Education System,
  4. Retrieved from Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/7864-corruption-plagues-afghanistan-s-education-system Dawi, A.

(2022, March 14). Afghan Diplomated Missions in US Close, Remain Open Elsewher, Retrieved from Voice of America: https://www.voanews.com/a/6485698.html Glinski, S.a. (2022, March 25). Taliban U-turn over Afghan girls’ education reveals deep leadership divisions.

  1. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/mar/25/taliban-u-turn-over-afghan-girls-education-reveals-deep-leadership-divisions-afghanistan Jackson, A.
  2. 2022, March 2022).
  3. The Ban on Older Girls’ Education: Taleban convervative ascdant and a leadership in disarray,

Retrieved from Afghan Analyst Network: https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/en/category/reports/ Trofimov, Y. (2021, September 13). Taliban Seek International Acceptance, Countries Seek to Engage, but Stop short of Recognition. Retrieved from The Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-taliban-seek-international-acceptance-countries-seek-to-engagebut-stop-short-of-recognition-11631548841 West, T.
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What age can a girl marry in Afghanistan?

Child marriage by 18 – 2022-12-13T02:00:04.833941 image/svg+xml Matplotlib v3.5.2, https://matplotlib.org/ 28%

Are there Girls Not Brides members? 8
Does this country have a national strategy or plan? Yes
Is there a Girls Not Brides National Partnership or coalition? No
Age of marriage without consent or exceptions taken into account No data available

What’s the prevalence rate? 28% of Afghan girls are married before the age of 18 and 4% are married before their 15th birthday.7% of Afghan boys are married before the age of 18. Afghanistan has the 20th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 in the world – 522,000.

  • The lowest median age at first marriage (age by which half of respondents have been married) is in Nimroz at 15.9 years.
  • What drives child marriage in Afghanistan? Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys.
  • In Afghanistan, child marriage is also driven by: Level of education: Government data indicates that girls who do not study are three times more likely to marry before the age of 18 than girls who have completed secondary education or higher.

A 2017 Human Rights Watch report showed that when a girl is married off, her sister often has to take on her household duties and consequently drops out of school and becomes vulnerable to child marriage. Even the anticipation of marriage forces some girls to leave school.

  1. Harmful traditional practices : Harmful traditional practices are frequently economically driven.
  2. There is a transactional view of marriage, involving the exchange of money and goods.
  3. Girls are seen as part of this transaction, for example, as a potential source of domestic labour.
  4. Child marriage is sometimes used to strengthen ties between rival families and settle disputes – a practice known as baad,

Girls have little say in this and often face serious physical and emotional abuse, When they try to escape, they are sometimes arrested for zina (running away) which is seen a moral crime. Baadl is the exchange of daughters in marriage between families, either before birth or as young as two.

Traditional attitudes : A 2014 study by the Asia Foundation shows that younger, single Afghans in urban areas are much more in favour of girls marrying at an older age, compared with older, married Afghans in rural areas. Weak legal frameworks: There is the assumption that marriage is not a government concern, and that the authority on the topic of marriage are religious and community leaders.

The prevalence of parallel legal systems imposed by tribal, family and religious communities limits the ability to enforce frameworks around child marriage. Adolescent pregnancy: In Afghanistan, the majority of adolescent childbearing occurs within marriage.

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While childbearing can occur right after the marriage, girls may be married off to avoid the social stigma of pre-marital sex and childbirth out of wedlock. Humanitarian settings can encompass a wide range of situations before, during, and after natural disasters, conflicts, and epidemics. They exacerbate poverty, insecurity, and lack of access to services such as education.

These factors can drive child marriage and, often in times of crisis, families see marrying their girls off as a way to avoid greater economic hardship and to protect girls from violence. Afghanistan has been in conflict for almost 35 years and the overall security situation remained tense across the country.

  • More than 230,000 people fled their homes due to conflict from January to August 2019, bringing the total number of displaced people to almost 3.4 million,
  • Displacement : For internally displaced families, child marriage can be perceived as a survival tactic.
  • For example, a 2015 Norwegian Refugee Council study showed that internally displaced girls are often married off to older men who are able to pay dowry and support them during times of food insecurity.

Returnees : Many refugee girls returning to Afghanistan are reportedly at risk of child marriage as they do not have access to education and are not eligible for aid from UN agencies. Families resort to arranging an early marriage for daughters as a perceived survival tactic.

What international, regional and national commitments has Afghanistan made? Afghanistan has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum, the government highlighted that it is working to reduce the number of girls who marry before the legal age to 10% by 2030.

Afghanistan co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage. Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18. Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18.

  1. Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2003, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
  2. In 2011, the Child Rights Committee expressed concerns about the inconsistencies between civil law, Sharia and customary laws as to the legal minimum age for marriage, and the absence of effective measures to prevent and eliminate early and forced marriages.

In 2019, the Committee requested further information on the legal and policy developments to address child marriage in Afghanistan. In 2013 the CEDAW Committee raised concerns about the persistence of adverse practices harmful to women, including child marriage.

In 2019, the CEDAW Committee requested further information on the implementation of policies and programmes to end harmful practices including child marriage. During its 2014 Universal Periodic Review, Afghanistan supported recommendations to revise legislation to ensure that legal ages of marriage in the Civil Law and in Sharia regulations are in line with international standards.

During its 2019 Universal Periodic Review, Afghanistan supported recommendations to take steps to end early and child marriage by implementing a national plan on child marriage and developing awareness raising programmes to end harmful traditional practices.

  • Afghanistan is a member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) which adopted a Regional Action Plan to End Child Marriage from 2015 – 2018.
  • Representatives of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan committed to the Kathmandu Call to Action to End Child Marriage in Asia in 2014.

As part of its commitment, Afghanistan will ensure access to legal remedies for child brides and establish a uniform minimum legal age of marriage of 18. Afghanistan is a partner developing country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). What is the government doing to address child marriage? On 19 April 2017, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Culture launched a National Action Plan To Eliminate Early and Child Marriage,

The plan was developed in partnership with UNFPA Afghanistan and followed several consultations with the international community. As reported by UNICEF, these policies and legislation have yet to have a strong impact. In February 2019, Afghanistan launched the Girls’ Education Policy. According to UNICEF, the policy includes provisions to reduce child marriage through inter-sectoral collaboration.

Afghanistan have also received support from UNICEF to ensure universal civil registration by 2024, including birth registration as a sustainable intervention to combat child marriage. As reported to the Child Rights Committee in 2019, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), mandated to protect and promote human rights situations across Afghanistan, has held a nation-wide training course for its child rights staff in Kabul.

In this training course, employees studied vulnerable children and legal support, the prevention of child marriage and how to support children during armed conflicts. The Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) legislation, which seeks to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence, including child marriage and other harmful practices, was signed by the then-president in 2009.

However, according to a 2018 UN report, violence against women and girls is still largely ignored by the Afghan criminal justice system. What is the minimum legal framework around marriage? Under Article 70 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Afghanistan 1977, the legal marriageable age is 16 for girls and 18 for boys.

  • When a girl is below the age of 16, a marriage can be concluded with the permission of her father or a judge.
  • Under Article 71 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Afghanistan 1977, the marriage of a girl under 15 is not permitted, however religious and customary laws have been found to contradict and take precedence over civil law.

There is no data available as to the minimum legal age of marriage in Afghanistan once all exceptions have been taken into account. A draft Family Protection Law is currently under review in which the marriage age for both girls and boys would be equal at 18.
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What does Islam say about girl education?

In effect, the Qur’an clearly states that women have equal right to acquire knowledge or be educated to assume the status of the righteous people due to their possession of knowledge and understanding that leads to the obedience of God in all aspect of life—spiritually and practically.
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What punishments do the Taliban use?

Image source, Afghan Islamic Press Image caption, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada is a political and religious leader who is the third Supreme Commander of the Taliban Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada has ordered Afghan judges to impose punishments for certain crimes that may include public amputations and stoning.

His spokesman said offences such as robbery, kidnapping and sedition must be punished in line with the group’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. When in power in the 1990s, the Taliban were condemned for such punishments, which included public executions. They promised to rule more moderately when they retook power last year.

But since then the militant Islamist group has steadily cracked down on freedoms. Women’s rights in particular have been severely restricted. The Taliban’s supreme leader said judges must punish criminals according to Sharia, if the crime committed is a violation of those laws.

The Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted late on Sunday that the “obligatory” command came after Mullah Akhundzada met a group of judges. “Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Mujahid quoted Akhundzada as saying. The exact crimes and punishments have not been defined by the Taliban, but one religious leader in Afghanistan told the BBC that under Sharia law, penalties could include amputations, public lashings and stoning.

The order is the latest evidence the Taliban are taking a tougher line on rights and freedoms. Image source, Reuters Image caption, Women were barred from all parks and funfairs in Kabul last week Last week they banned women from visiting all parks in Kabul, excluding them still further from public life.

  1. It has since emerged the ban extends to women in the capital visiting public baths and gyms, although the latter attracted relatively few women.
  2. Entry to parks, baths and gyms was already segregated under Taliban rules on segregating people by gender.
  3. The group claims Islamic laws were not being followed.

Levels of violence have fallen across Afghanistan since foreign troops pulled out after 20 years of war, in the face of the Taliban advance in the summer of 2021. But the group has faced numerous allegations that it is abusing human rights, including of opponents, women and journalists.

  1. It has vowed there will be no brutal repression of women as there was when it was in power from 1996-2001, but half the population face severe curbs on what they can do.
  2. Women are barred from going on longer distance journeys without a male chaperone.
  3. Teenage girls have still not returned to school in most of the country, despite Taliban promises to allow them to do so.

While some women still work in sectors such as healthcare and education, most were told not to go to work after the Taliban swept back to power. In May women were ordered to wear the Islamic face veil in public. A number of women have been beaten for demanding their rights,
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When did girls stop going to school in Afghanistan?

After the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, they shut down schools for girls over 6th grade, effectively barring women from getting an education. The decision to keep schools shut for older girls has drawn widespread international condemnation, and has been an obstacle to Afghanistan receiving desperately-needed financial assistance.
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Did the Taliban ban school for girls?

What Is Lost When We Shut Girls out of School? (London) – The Taliban’s ban on secondary education has already caused girls in Afghanistan to lose 300 days of their studies with devastating consequences for them, their families, and the country’s future, Human Rights Watch said today in a new video feature,

The video features six prominent Afghan women: Tamana Ayazi, a filmmaker; Sahar Fetrat, a Human Rights Watch researcher; Yalda Hakim and Zahra Joya, journalists; Elaha Soroor, a musician; and Heela Yoon, an activist. They 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. “We’re so grateful to the strong Afghan women who spoke with us.

  • The world should listen to them and do more to end this shocking abuse.
  • Every day, millions of Afghan girls are losing opportunities and dreams they can never get back.” On September 18, 2021, a month after taking over the country, the Taliban ordered the reopening of boys’ secondary schools but made no mention of girls’ secondary schools.

This was interpreted as a ban on girls’ secondary education. In several provinces, under community pressure, Taliban officials allowed girls’ secondary schools to reopen, but the vast majority of these schools remained closed. On March 21, 2022, the Taliban pledged to reopen all schools on March 23, but on that date they closed girls’ secondary schools again.
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Did the Taliban open schools for girls?

Afghanistan | Taliban close girls schools that had briefly opened September 10, 2022 06:14 pm | Updated 10:40 pm IST – ISLAMABAD File picture of Afghan girls attending class at the Tajrobawai Girls High School in Herat, Afghanistan. Taliban authorities shut down girls schools above the sixth grade in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia province that had been briefly opened | Photo Credit: AP Taliban authorities Saturday shut down girls schools above the sixth grade in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia province, according to witnesses and social media posts.

  • Earlier this month, four girls schools above grade 6 in Gardez, the provincial capital, and one in the Samkani district began operating without formal permission from the Taliban Education Ministry.
  • On Saturday, all five schools were once again closed by the Taliban.
  • Dozens of tearful former students — some in head-to-toe burqas, others in school uniforms and white vails — protested Saturday in the streets of Gardez, according to social media posts.
  • Mohammad Sediq, a resident of Gardez, said he had been happy that his two sisters could go to school, but the Taliban disappointed him by closing the girls schools.
  • Taliban government spokespersons and Education Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

A year after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, teenage girls are still barred from school and women are required to cover themselves from head to toe in public, with only their eyes showing. Hard-liners appear to hold sway in the Taliban-led government, which imposed severe restrictions on access to education and jobs for girls and women, despite initial promises to the contrary.

  1. Former president Hamid Karzai in a series of tweets on World Literacy Day on Thursday, encouraged respected clerics, elders and influential Afghans to “encourage the education of our children, both boys and girls, as much as possible,”
  2. Last week, Khaliqyar Ahmadzai, head of information and culture in Paktia, told local media that schools for female students above grade 6 had been reopened in the province.
  3. “The decision was made by local school leadership and not based on an official order,” he said.

Since taking power, the Taliban have struggled to govern and remain internationally isolated. An economic downturn has driven millions more Afghans into poverty and hunger as the flow of foreign aid has slowed to a trickle. : Afghanistan | Taliban close girls schools that had briefly opened
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When did the Taliban take away women’s rights?

How life has improved for Afghan women over the past two decades and how it has not – Many Afghan women, particularly those in urban areas, have much to lose from a bad intra-Afghan deal. During the 1990s, the Taliban not only brutally imposed social restrictions on women such as mandatory burqa coverings, but, more fundamentally and deleteriously, restricted their access to health care, education, and jobs.

It prohibited women from appearing in public spaces without a male chaperon, de facto sentencing widows and their children to starvation. The Taliban regime destroyed Afghan institutions and the economy, which was already devastated by decades of fighting and the Soviet scorched-earth counterinsurgency strategy.

The resulting immiseration critically affected women and children. And, with the exception of poppy cultivation and opium harvesting, the Taliban prohibited women from holding jobs, including working as doctors for other women. The post-Taliban constitution in 2004 gave Afghan women all kinds of rights, and the post-Taliban political dispensation brought social and economic growth that significantly improved their socio-economic condition.

From a collapsed health care system with essentially no medical services available to women during the Taliban years, the post-Taliban regime constructed 3,135 functional health facilities by 2018, giving 87 percent of Afghan people access to a medical facility within two hours distance—at least in theory, because intensifying Taliban, militia, and criminal violence has made travel on roads increasingly unsafe.3 In 2003, fewer than 10 percent of girls were enrolled in primary schools; by 2017, that number had grown to 33 percent 4 —not enough, but progress still—while female enrollment in secondary education grew from six percent in 2003 to 39 percent in 2017.5 Thus, 3.5 million Afghan girls were in school with 100,000 studying in universities.

Women’s life expectancy grew from 56 years in 2001 to 66 in 2017, 6 and their mortality during childbirth declined from 1,100 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 396 per 100,000 in 2015.7 By 2020, 21 percent of Afghan civil servants were women (compared with almost none during the Taliban years), 16 percent of them in senior management levels; and 27 percent of Afghan members of parliament were women.8 Instead of economic, social, and political empowerment, Afghan women in rural areas—where an estimated 76 percent of the country’s women live—experience the devastation of bloody and intensifying fighting between the Taliban and government forces and local militias.

Yet these gains for women have been distributed highly unequally, with the increases far greater for women in urban areas. For many rural women, particularly in Pashtun areas but also among other rural minority ethnic groups, actual life has not changed much from the Taliban era, formal legal empowerment notwithstanding.

They are still fully dependent on men in their families for permission to access health care, attend school, and work. Many Afghan men remain deeply conservative. Typically, families allow their girls to have a primary or secondary education—usually up to puberty—and then will proceed with arranged marriages.

Even if a young woman is granted permission to attend a university by her male guardian, her father or future husband may not permit her to work after graduation. Without any prodding from the Taliban, most Afghan women in rural areas are fully covered with the burqa. Instead of economic, social, and political empowerment, Afghan women in rural areas—where an estimated 76 percent of the country’s women live —experience the devastation of bloody and intensifying fighting between the Taliban and government forces and local militias.

Loss of husbands, brothers, and fathers to the fighting generates not only psychological trauma for them, but also fundamentally jeopardizes their economic survival and ability to go about everyday life. Widows and their children are thus highly vulnerable to a panoply of debilitating disruptions due to the loss of family men.

  • Not surprisingly, the position of Afghan women toward peace varies greatly.
  • Educated urban women reject the possibility of another Taliban emirate.
  • They dream of a peace deal in which the Taliban are a weak actor in the negotiations and is given some political and perhaps government representation, but not the ability to shape the rewrite of the Afghan constitution and the country’s basic political dispensation.

Rather than yielding to the Taliban, some urban women may prefer for fighting to go on, particularly as urban areas are much less affected by the warfare than are rural areas, and their male relatives, particularly of elite families, rarely bear the battlefield fighting risks.

  1. For them, the continuation and augmentation of war has been far less costly than for many rural women.
  2. By contrast, as interviews with Afghan women conducted by one of us in the fall of 2019 and the summer of 2020 showed, peace is an absolute priority for some rural women, even a peace deal very much on the Taliban terms.9 This finding was confirmed in a recent International Crisis Group report,

The Taliban already frequently rule or influence the areas where they live anyway. While rejecting a 1990s-like lockdown of women in their homes that the Taliban imposed, many rural women point out that in that period the Taliban also reduced sexual predation and robberies that debilitated their lives.

But the issue of women’s rights is a highly contested and charged political debate among Afghan women themselves beyond the rural-urban and Taliban-non-Taliban divides. A recent study by UN Women and partners showed that only 15 percent of Afghan men think women should be allowed to work outside of their home after marriage, and two thirds of men complain Afghan women now have too many rights.

Male Afghan political powerbrokers often resent quotas for women in public shuras (assemblies) and elections such as for parliament, where 27 percent of seats are reserved for women. Women representatives feel systematically marginalized, ignored, patronized, and harassed, with men trying to order them “back to the kitchen.” The UN study also revealed that 80 percent of Afghan women experience domestic violence.
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