Why Is The Taliban Against Women’S Education?

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Why Is The Taliban Against Women
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.

  • It was the clerics’ second such demand in less than a month.
  • Prominent individual scholars have made similar calls while citing Islamic legal jurisprudence in support of education and work for women.
  • 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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What have the Taliban said about the 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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Did the Taliban ban women’s education?

Why Is The Taliban Against Women 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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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Why did the Taliban ban girls from 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.

  1. 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,
  2. 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, 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.

UNICEF that 129 million girls are not in school worldwide, including 32 million of primary age and 97 million of secondary age. 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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What did the Taliban do to girls schools?

Taliban Bar Women from Pursuing Certain University Subjects washington —

  • The Taliban have imposed yet more restrictions on girls’ education in Afghanistan as the group barred girls from choosing certain subjects in the country’s national university entrance exam this year.
  • The form given to female students at the exam, received by the VOA Afghanistan Service, shows that female students did not have the option of choosing civil engineering, journalism, veterinary, agriculture and geology in this year’s exam held at the beginning of this month.
  • “I wanted to pursue journalism and looked to pick it, but it was not an option,” said 19-year-old Haseena Ahmadi, who took this year’s university entrance exam in the western Herat province.
  • Ahmadi added that omitting the subjects is a “tactic” used by the Taliban to stop women from pursuing higher education.
  • The Taliban, who seized power last year, banned girls’ secondary education in the country, but female students were allowed to return to universities and continue their studies in gender-segregated classes.
  • According to Save the Children, 80% of secondary school girls in Afghanistan were denied attending school.

“The majority of secondary school girls — about 850,000 out of 1.1 million — are not attending classes,” the report said.

  1. The United Nations called the Taliban’s ban on secondary education “shameful” and called on the group to reopen the girls’ school.
  2. Abdul Qadir Khamosh, the Taliban’s head of the university exam, acknowledged that some of the subjects were excluded.
  3. In an interview with the BBC’s Pashto service, Khamosh claimed that “in some of the regions, women did not show interest in these subjects, and that is why the decision was made.”
  4. Female students who took the exam, however, told VOA that the subjects they wanted to choose were not among those listed during the exam.
  5. “I wanted to select engineering, but it was not an option, and I had to choose another subject,” said 18-year-old Huda, who did not want to reveal her real name for fear of reprisals.
  6. “We were very stressed,” she said.
  7. Nargis Mommand Hassanzai, a former lecturer at Kabul University, told VOA that these restrictions are “affecting girls’ mental health and forcing families to leave their country.”
  8. She added that “a student can only succeed in a field that she likes to pursue.”
  9. Hassanzai said the Taliban use religion or culture as an “excuse” to justify women’s rights violations.

Before the Taliban’s takeover, some 3.5 million girls were going to schools, and about 30% of the civil servants and around 28% of parliamentarians were women.

  • However, the Taliban’s return to power curbed women’s rights and freedoms.
  • Gender apartheid
  • Human Rights Watch called the Taliban’s new limitations on female students “concerning.”
  • “It’s deeply concerning to hear reports that the Taliban are now limiting what subjects girls and young women can study at university level, and banning girls and young women from most subjects,” Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch told the VOA Afghan Service.
  • She added, however, that this is not “surprising.”
  • Since seizing power last year, the Taliban have barred women from working in most government agencies and restricted them from working in the private sector in Afghanistan.
  • “Unfortunately, this new policy seems consistent with the type of gender apartheid that the Taliban are imposing increasingly across the country,” said Barr.

The U.S. announced last week a visa restriction on some of the current and former Taliban members who are “responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence.” The Taliban called the new U.S. sanctions an “impediment to the development” in their relations with the Taliban.

  1. More pressure
  2. Afghan women’s rights activists have repeatedly called on the international community to use its political leverage to pressure the Taliban to grant women their rights.
  3. Shukria Barakzai, former Afghan ambassador to Norway, told VOA that the world should stand with Afghan women protesting for their rights.

“I think we, Afghan women, are not receiving the political support that is needed,” Barakzai said. “In the past year, Afghan women’s protests did not stop for a single day. They are raising their voices every day.” She added that “the world does not want to hear those voices anymore.” : Taliban Bar Women from Pursuing Certain University Subjects
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Do Taliban support women’s rights?

Despite initial promises that women would be allowed to exercise their rights within Sharia law—including the right to work and to study— the Taliban has systematically excluded women and girls from public life.
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When did the Taliban stop girls education?

The armed group ruling Afghanistan closed girls’ secondary schools just hours after reopening them this week. The Taliban’s ban on girls’ education will not last forever, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has said, emphasising that Afghan women now know what it is to be “empowered”.

  1. The armed group, now ruling Afghanistan, closed girls’ secondary schools just hours after reopening them this week, prompting a small protest by women and girls in the capital Kabul.
  2. I think it was much easier for the Taliban a ban on girls’ education back in 1996,” Yousafzai, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for all children’s right to education, told the Doha Forum in Qatar on Saturday.

“It is much harder this time – that is because women have seen what it means to be educated, what it means to be empowered. This time is going to be much harder for the Taliban to maintain the ban on girls’ education. This ban will not last forever.” The Taliban stopped girls from attending school during its rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when it was removed by the US-led invasion. Afghan women and girls take part in a protest in front of the Ministry of Education in Kabul demanding that high schools be reopened for girls It returned to power as US forces withdrew in August last year. The United States said on Friday it had cancelled planned talks in Doha with the Taliban after the schools were shut this week.

On Tuesday, we joined millions of Afghan families in expressing our deep disappointment with the Taliban’s decision to not allow women and girls to return to secondary school,” a State Department spokesperson said on Friday. “We have cancelled some of our engagements, including planned meetings in Doha around the Doha Forum, and made clear that we see this decision as a potential turning point in our engagement.” On Saturday, US special envoy Thomas West said he expects the Taliban to reverse its decision “in coming days”.

Yousafzai, who survived a Pakistani Taliban assassination attempt when she was 15, said girls’ schooling should be a condition of diplomatic recognition for the Taliban. “They shouldn’t be recognised if they didn’t recognise the human rights of women and girls,” she said.
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Why do the Taliban hate education?

Why does the Taliban target schools? – The Pakistani Taliban doesn’t agree with Western-style education for children and particularly girls. Mosharraf Zaidi is the campaign director for Alif Ailaan which works to bring about better education in Pakistan.

Education teaches people to think for themselves and decide what is good for us. It opens up our minds,” he told Newsbeat. “The Taliban wants to control the minds of people. One way to do this is to prevent young people from getting an education. “In the eyes of the Taliban every educated boy or girl represents a threat.” In October 2012 the Pakistani Taliban shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai when she was on a school bus in the town of Mingora.

They were unhappy that she was speaking up for the rights of girls to be educated. We all know the story from here. Malala now campaigns around the world for equality for women in education. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. In the past militants have attacked schools during the night, when the risk to students was small.
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How are womens rights violated in Afghanistan?

Human Rights Council Discusses Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan, with a Focus on the Situation of Women and Girls AFTERNOON The Human Rights Council this afternoon took up the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, with an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, followed by an enhanced interactive dialogue on the human rights situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.

  • Richard Bennett, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said since the mandate was established almost a year ago, the human rights situation had deteriorated.
  • Afghans were trapped in a human rights crisis that the world seemed powerless to address.
  • The severe rollback of the rights of women and girls, reprisals targeting opponents and critics, and a clampdown on freedom of expression by the Taliban amounted to a descent into authoritarianism.

Afghanistan, speaking as a country concerned, said one year after the Taliban’s military takeover, the story of broken promises was well-known, and the seriousness of the situation well-established. Girls were still barred from secondary schools. Women were deprived of safety, freedom and fulfilment.

Minorities were persecuted, subject to widespread and systematic attacks. Torture, ill-treatment, mass punishment, arbitrary detentions and forced displacement continued to be carried out. Afghanistan urged the Council to establish a robust accountability mechanism for the country. In the discussion, speakers expressed unwavering commitment to the full, equal participation of all women and girls in Afghanistan and their protection from violence.

The shrinking space for civil society and for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms was of primary concern. The Taliban had so far failed to uphold any promises made. A reconciliation mechanism was required for accountability. Other speakers said the American military intervention was the fundamental cause of the humanitarian disaster gripping the people of Afghanistan, violating their human rights, and impeding their enjoyment of peace.

  • Speaking in the interactive discussion with the Special Rapporteur were the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Denmark on behalf of a group of countries, Qatar, Switzerland, France, India, Israel, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Australia, Ireland, Japan, United Arab Emirates, UN Women, Pakistan, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Namibia, China, Czech Republic, Malaysia, United States, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Spain, Kazakhstan, Italy, Montenegro, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, Iran, Türkiye, Albania and Malawi.
  • Also speaking were the International Commission of Jurists, World Organization against Torture, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Sisterhood is Global Institute, Freedom Now, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Peaceland Foundation, and Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteer Association.
  • The enhanced dialogue on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan saw the participation of seven panellists.

Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said this dialogue would focus on the impact of the actions of the Taliban on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, including minority women, and the crucial roles played by women journalists and human rights defenders.

Since the Taliban took power, they had repeatedly asserted that women’s rights were protected under Sharia, and yet their repeated edicts had undone women’s agency, removing them from public life, closing secondary schools for girls, and making an estimated 850,000 girls at risk of child marriage, and economic and sexual exploitation.

Richard Bennett, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said it was important to create multiple platforms for Afghan women to make their voices heard. History should not be repeated regarding the rollback of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

  • The de facto authorities needed to change their policies and uphold women’s human rights.
  • If they did not change, they needed to be held to account.
  • Nasir Ahmad Andisha, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the harrowing environment under which millions of women and girls of Afghanistan were living was deeply alarming.

The Taliban’s draconian, misogynistic form of rule did not reflect Afghan religion, culture or values. The capacity, staff and resources of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan were insufficient – there should be an independent human rights mechanism to document violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, to provide redress for the victims.

  1. Mahbouba Seraj, Afghan women’s rights activist and journalist, said in 24 hours from August 15, 2021, democracy built up by the international community disappeared in Afghanistan.
  2. It was time to implement the independent monitoring mechanism due to the atrocities purveyed on social media.
  3. The world needed to do something about this issue.

Razia Sayad, Afghan lawyer and former Commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said the Taliban had committed gross human rights violations against the people of Afghanistan, in particular women and girls, imposing degrading anti-women rules.

Women were at the mercy of a group that was inherently anti-women. Zahra Joya, journalist and representative of Rukhshana Media, said Afghanistan had been lost to the Taliban for 13 months. There were very few female journalists remaining in the country. Women were now fighting for their fundamental rights.

Strict restrictions had been imposed on women’s lives, and on what the media could cover. Ms. Joya called for an investigation into abuses of human rights of ethnic minorities, particularly the Hazara community. Bandana Rana, member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and Coordinator of the Committee’s Task Force on Afghanistan, said in Afghanistan women’s participation in political and civil life was almost nil.

The international community needed to put women’s rights in Afghanistan as a prerequisite for all engagement with the de facto authorities, and continue to create spaces to make the voices of Afghan women and girls heard in all international fora. In the discussion, some speakers said that promises made by the Taliban to respect the human rights of women and girls had not been fulfilled.

Many speakers called on the Taliban to reverse policies and practices that had dismantled progress made in the past 20 years and restricted the rights and freedoms of women and girls. Other speakers said that Afghanistan had been thrown into chaos due to the cruel occupation of the United States.

  • The international community needed to remove unilateral sanctions and play a constructive role in realising the fundamental rights of all Afghans.
  • Speaking in the discussion were Sweden on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Luxembourg, France, Lithuania, Israel, Qatar, Slovenia, Ecuador, North Macedonia, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Maldives, Austria, Cyprus, Venezuela, Russian Federation, China, Peru, Netherlands, Malaysia, United States, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Argentina, Spain, Timor Leste, Pakistan, Croatia, Romania, Italy, Ukraine, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Belgium, Finland, Greece, India, Poland, Bulgaria, Gambia, Portugal, United Nations Population Fund, Vanuatu, Iran, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Malawi, Egypt, and Chile.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found, All meeting summaries can be found, Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fifty-first regular session can be found, The Council will next meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 13 September, when it will conclude the enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, after which it will hold an interactive dialogue on the report of the High Commissioner on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, followed by a general debate on the High Commissioner’s oral update on global human rights developments, which was presented earlier today.

  1. Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan
  2. Report
  3. The Council has before it the of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan,
  4. Presentation of the Report

RICHARD BENNETT, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, presenting his report, said since the mandate was established almost a year ago, the human rights situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated. Afghans were trapped in a human rights crisis that the world seemed powerless to address.

The severe rollback of the rights of women and girls, reprisals targeting opponents and critics, and a clampdown on freedom of expression by the Taliban amounted to a descent into authoritarianism. This crisis demanded ongoing attention from the Council. All Afghans were going through turbulent times; however, the Special Rapporteur was gravely concerned about the staggering regression in women and girls’ enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights since the Taliban seized control of the country.

The de facto authorities must change their policies and uphold women’s human rights. This was a matter of international concern and urgent action was required to preserve the international human rights system’s fundamental ban against discrimination. The dire humanitarian situation was also very worrying with food security becoming more precarious by the day.

  • Mr. Bennett said security in Afghanistan was deteriorating again, and he remained concerned about the protection of civilians, especially the damaging impact on children.
  • The conflict between the de facto security forces and the National Resistance Front continued to result in significant suffering and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the north of Afghanistan.

The situation of ethnic and religious minorities, which had faced historical persecution and attacks, had continued to deteriorate since August 2021. Fundamental freedoms remained bleak, with civic space continuing to shrink. At the same time, the international community must acknowledge its own role and responsibility for the situation unfolding in Afghanistan today, recognise the Afghan survivors and victims and listen to them about what they considered necessary to rebuild their country – and support their efforts politically and financially.

Equally, the international community should pay particular attention to the calls from Afghans across all walks of life for accountability and justice, for concrete and effective challenges to the impunity pervasive in the country, and to remedying the wrongs of the past to prevent their recurrence in the future.

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Statement by Concerned Country Afghanistan, speaking as a country concerned, said that one year after the Taliban’s military takeover, the story of broken promises was well-known, and the seriousness of the situation well-established. Girls were still barred from secondary schools.

Women were deprived of safety, freedom and fulfilment. Minorities were persecuted, subjected to widespread and systematic attacks. The civic space continued to be severely restricted. Reprisal killings and forced disappearances were ongoing. Barriers to access healthcare and livelihoods along with food insecurity persisted, while aid was still not sufficient and also not delivered to those most in need.

Musicians and artists remained under threat, as cultural heritage was being destroyed. Those who attempted to leave the country undertook treacherous journeys only to face violent pushbacks in different countries. The past few weeks had been marked by widespread insecurity, civilian causalities and large tragic blasts.

  1. Torture, ill-treatment, mass punishment, arbitrary detentions and forced displacement continued to be carried out.
  2. Major international terrorist groups were once again active inside Afghanistan.
  3. The report and recent reports by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan failed to capture the full nature and extent of violations and abuses across the country.

Due to insufficient resources, many violations went undocumented, and many causalities were overlooked. Afghanistan urged the Council to establish a robust accountability mechanism for the country. Such a mechanism would allow for independent local and international documentation, for the identification of those responsible, for perpetrators to be held to account, and for victims to have access to redress.

  • The Council’s failure to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan meant that serious violations of human rights could be met with apathy and selectivity.
  • Discussion In the ensuing discussion, some speakers gave their unwavering commitment to the full, equal participation of all women and girls in Afghanistan and their protection from violence.

The shrinking space for civil society and for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms was of primary concern. The Taliban had so far failed to uphold any promises made, and should uphold the human rights mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

  1. The situation was a product of decades of instability.
  2. There should be an Afghan-led and Afghan-managed reconciliation process, as should be the pathway to restore the Afghan economy.
  3. There should be sustained and multilateral international support to ensure that the authorities could address the human rights needs of the Afghan people.

There was concern for reports of arbitrary detention, intimidation and discrimination against media workers and human rights defenders. The crisis was also humanitarian – half the population required assistance, with many on the brink of starvation. Some speakers said the dialogue with the Government of Afghanistan should continue.

There were issues with access to healthcare and persisting restrictions in the financial sector. The spike in gender-based violence, forced marriage and child marriage were also part of the violations occurring. Socio-economic development required practical measures, including the respect of the rights of women and girls, ethnic and religious minorities, and their participation in the economy.

A reconciliation mechanism was required for accountability. For over a year, the population had had no reprieve, and the situation had only deteriorated, with human rights violations rising. Those responsible for this were the Taliban, and their decisions had shown repeated violations of the requirements set by the United Nations Security Council.

  1. Humanitarian assistance should be based on the principles of neutrality, and should be provided to all parts of society, including women and minorities.
  2. The Taliban authorities had talked the talk, promising not to roll back human rights, but had not walked the walk, some speakers said.
  3. The situation in Afghanistan should be accounted as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Council must strengthen accountability measures, as the Taliban’s actions showed that they had no intention of respecting the human rights of women and girls or human rights defenders. One speaker said the report was remiss in contextualising the situation with regard to the decades of instability.

  1. The American military intervention was the fundamental cause of the humanitarian disaster gripping the people of Afghanistan, violating their human rights, and impeding their enjoyment of peace.
  2. The blocking of access to financial resources had caused great suffering.
  3. The work of the Special Rapporteur would not help, as he would continue to present remote reports.

The Council should cease to create country-specific mandates. Over 20 years of inglorious intervention by Western countries had caused the deaths of thousands in Afghanistan. The main burden for post-conflict restoration should be borne by the United States, the United Kingdom and their Western allies, who were responsible for the situation.

  1. Concluding Remarks Afghanistan welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur.
  2. The Rapporteur had recommended establishing an accountability mechanism, and Afghanistan supported this.
  3. The mechanism needed to verify evidence of abuses and hold those responsible accountable to eradicate impunity.
  4. RICHARD BENNETT, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, expressed appreciation for the agreement of many Member States and non-governmental organizations with the conclusions of the report.

He had visited various parts of Afghanistan, including schools, hospitals and a prison, and had engaged with civil society. He planned to continue these efforts. The visit was appreciated by persons on the ground, especially women, who wanted expressions of solidarity.

The Special Rapporteur was continuing to engage with the Taliban and aimed to reach agreements and hold authorities accountable for upholding those agreements. Member States could support his work by renewing the mandate, providing it with sufficient resources, and supporting civil society organizations.

Holding perpetrators accountable for abuses was a long-term goal. The Rapporteur’s current goal was to take realistic steps to addressing impunity and providing redress to victims. There needed to be a careful consideration of how best to add value to existing mechanisms promoting human rights in Afghanistan.

Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Human Rights Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan Statements by the Panellists ILZE BRANDS KEHRIS, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said that having the voices of Afghan women and girls at the centre of the discussion was critical, and the Office of the High Commissioner had sought to bring a diversity of these voices to the Council so that it could hear them.

This dialogue would focus on the impact of the actions of the Taliban on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, including minority women, and the crucial roles played by women journalists and human rights defenders. There was limited action to justice and redress by women and girls.

Since the Taliban took power, they had repeatedly asserted that women’s rights were protected under Sharia, and yet their repeated edicts had undone women’s agency, removing them from public life, closing secondary schools for girls, and making an estimated 850,000 girls at risk of child marriage, as well as economic and sexual exploitation.

Afghanistan was now the only country in the world where girls were denied secondary education, limiting their development abilities and their ability to live independent lives in the future, whilst also impeding Afghanistan’s progress to becoming an equal and just country.

  1. Women were hindered from accessing healthcare, particularly sexual and reproductive healthcare, and from escaping from abusive relationships.
  2. Female civil servants had been directed to stay at home, and some even to nominate a male family member to replace them.
  3. Members of minority groups had been subjected to particular harassment and discrimination, and other groups of women, including those with disabilities, were also suffering from inter-sectional discrimination.

Human rights oversight mechanisms had been dismantled, as had the specialised courts for gender issues. Gender-based violence and violence against women was chronic, with no opportunity for redress. With the rapid closing of public spaces for women, the role of women journalists and women human rights defenders had become even more crucial.

  • Reports of attacks on them to silence their voices were appalling.
  • There were no investigations being reported on such cases, and none of those responsible were brought to justice.
  • The hope was that today’s dialogue would translate into concrete action, so that the women and girls of Afghanistan saw that the international community truly stood with them.

Today was an opportunity for the Council to reaffirm and act upon its commitment for the full enjoyment of human rights for all women and girls of Afghanistan. The Council then viewed a video with the voices and experiences of women and girls from Afghanistan.

RICHARD BENNETT, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said it was important to create multiple platforms for Afghan women to make their voices heard. History should not be repeated regarding the rollback of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The denial of women’s and girls’ rights was central to the Taliban’s ideology.

Edicts had been imposed that restricted women and girls’ daily lives, robbed them of their futures and stripped them of their identity and dignity. Women and girls belonging to ethnic and religious minority groups, and those with disabilities, faced further discrimination and complications.

Afghanistan needed to comply with its international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other Conventions. The de facto authorities needed to change their policies and uphold women’s human rights. If they did not change, they needed to be held to account.

The international community needed to listen to women and girls’ demands, work with them, support them, and ensure their safety and protection. Mr. Bennett urged the de facto authorities to urgently reverse the discriminatory policies and directives that unduly restricted the rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls; ensure women’s equal participation in education, employment, governance and all other aspects of public life; and immediately and unconditionally reopen all girls’ secondary schools, and ensure equal and quality education for girls and boys at all levels.

  1. NASIR AHMAD ANDISHA, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the harrowing environment under which millions of women and girls in Afghanistan were living was deeply alarming.
  2. The policies of the Taliban led up to an all-encompassing attack and atrocities.
  3. The Taliban had broken every promise to the international community, the people of Afghanistan and the women and girls of Afghanistan.

Their draconian, misogynistic form of rule did not reflect Afghan religion, culture or values. To say it was, was to add insult to injury. The Taliban were going against modernity and human progress. As a nation, Afghanistan would not allow them to take the 38 million people back with themselves, and expected the international community to not stand by as spectators.

All women and girls were entitled to every right enshrined in the treaties to which Afghanistan was a party. Opening secondary schools was no panacea – it was just a basic right. Women were penalised for exercising their most basic rights, and had nowhere to turn – no support, no shelter, no independent human rights commission.

Girls were increasingly forced into marriage. There were multiple challenges to daily life, including the environment, and the suicide rate was unimaginable. As women human rights defenders peacefully protested, they continued to face arrest, harassment, detention, and arbitrary disappearance.

  • There was visible gender apartheid.
  • The capacity, staff and resources of the United Nations Assistance Mechanism in Afghanistan were insufficient – there should be an independent human rights mechanism to document violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, to provide redress for the victims.

Women and girls continued to demonstrate exceptional strength, courage and resistance, and their will to survive was amazing. All people of the world deserved to live safe, fulfilling lives, free from oppression. MAHBOUBA SERAJ, Afghan women’s rights activist and journalist, said she had been active in Afghanistan for several years, including when the Taliban took power.

In 24 hours on 15 August 2021, democracy built up by the international community in Afghanistan had disappeared. The international community was killing the country and then crying for it. Human rights today did not exist in Afghanistan. Women did not exist in the country; they were erased. This was the last time that Ms.

Seraj would talk about this issue. The world could fix this issue. Money and food were not good enough. How would Afghanistan survive the next few winters? Talk was cheap, but it achieved nothing. Ms. Seraj said that it was time to implement the independent monitoring mechanism due to the atrocities purveyed on social media.

The world needed to do something about this issue. RAZIA SAYAD, Afghan lawyer and former Commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said the Taliban had committed gross human rights violations against the people of Afghanistan, in particular women and girls, imposing degrading anti-women rules.

The people of Afghanistan had been denied their legal, social and economic identities. The current tragedy was a by-product of the systems that were birthed and developed over the last two decades. Those institutions belatedly guaranteed women’s access to justice, but this was no longer in place, and they were at the mercy of a group that was inherently anti-women.

  • Expecting the Taliban to bow to international pressure was unrealistic and a waste of time.
  • Since August 2021, the Taliban had removed women’s access to human rights and to justice.
  • The regime had shut down the courts and prosecution offices that judged violations of women’s rights.
  • Tragically, under Taliban rule, women attorneys and lawyers were replaced by fanatic Taliban members, whose edicts did not even respect Sharia, leaving women with no access to justice.

Women were particularly mistreated and insulted in judicial institutions. Reports of forced marriage by the Taliban were increasingly alarming. There were also reports of the Taliban forcing their way into homes and assaulting and raping women and underage girls.

Thousands of women suffered from the brutality of the Taliban militias. The institutional vacuum left women defenceless. The future of transitional justice depended on how properly and responsibly this crisis was handled today. ZAHRA JOYA, journalist and representative of Rukhshana Media, said Afghanistan had been lost to the Taliban for 13 months.

There were very few female journalists remaining in the country. Women were now fighting for their fundamental rights. Strict restrictions had been imposed on women’s lives, and on what the media could cover. Hundreds of journalists had lost their jobs and fled the country.

One journalist had been deprived of seeing her children for over a year. Most ethnic minorities had also fled the country in fear of persecution. The Hazara people were facing genocide. Ms. Joya called for an investigation into abuses of the human rights of ethnic minorities, particularly the Hazara community, and urged Member States to provide humanitarian visas to high-risk groups.

Afghanistan was going through a difficult time and needed the support of the international community. BANDANA RANA, Member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and Coordinator of the Committee’s Task Force on Afghanistan, said in Afghanistan women’s participation in political and civil life was almost nil.

  1. All directives from the de facto authorities more and more reinforced the dominance and control of men over women’s lives.
  2. The abolition of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, deactivating all women’s rights machinery in the country and reinstating the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, sent a clear signal that there was no room for women or entities tasked to take gender equality forward.

Many Afghan women inside and outside the country were presently worried that the world was getting too comfortable with the Taliban regime. The international community needed to put women’s rights in Afghanistan as a prerequisite for all engagement with the de facto authorities, and continue to create spaces to make the voices of Afghan women and girls heard in all international fora, to build their capacity to strategize, advocate and be able to negotiate and amplify their voices effectively.

Respect for women’s rights was fundamentally important. Women and girls across Afghanistan deserved equality and the right to live with dignity which should be defined by the women and girls themselves. Discussion In the discussion, speakers noted that promises made by the Taliban to respect the human rights of women and girls had not been fulfilled.

Many speakers called on the Taliban to reverse policies and practices that had dismantled progress made in the past 20 years and restricted the rights and freedoms of women and girls. Women were required to wear a strict form of hijab. Afghanistan was the only country in the world that banned women and girls from attending secondary education.

Women and girls were also denied access to higher education, work and services, and restricted from moving freely and participating in public life. Early marriage had increased sharply, and women and children faced increasing discrimination, domestic violence and sexual and gender-based violence. These trends needed to be halted.

Speakers called on the de facto authorities to uphold international humanitarian law; immediately open all schools; and to respect the rights of women and girls to move, assemble, access services, and participate in work and other aspects of public life freely.

Sexual and reproductive health services needed to be provided to women and girls. The rights of refugee women and girls, ethnic minorities, and women and girls with disabilities in particular needed to be protected. Authorities needed to be held accountable for their actions, and victims needed to be provided with redress.

Other speakers said that Afghanistan had been thrown into chaos due to the cruel occupation of the United States. The new Government had made efforts to ensure women and girls’ inheritance and property rights. To solve issues regarding access to education, the United States and other States needed to remove freezes on schools’ assets.
View complete answer

Is female education allowed in Afghanistan?

BAMIAN, Afghanistan — When Zahra Wafa thinks about what it took to put her daughters through school, her face hardens. She remembers the days she and her husband ate only bread to afford their children’s education, how it had all seemed worth it to give them a chance at a future beyond Nawa Foladi, a village in central Afghanistan with a single dirt track, hand-pumped wells and no electricity. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Zahra Wafa, center, leads her daughters with chores at their home in Nawa Foladi, a village near Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) “We worked hard, spent so much money on this and they’re so intelligent. And now they’re supposed to just sit at home?” she said.

“Every time I think about it I get a headache.” A year after the precipitous fall of the U.S.-backed republic and the Islamic militants’ ascension to power, Wafa and her daughters, like so many women and girls across Afghanistan, are grappling with the Taliban’s hard-line vision for the country and its plan to turn back the clock not only on their education but their very presence in public life.

The group claims it has no interest in restoring its 1990s regime, when girls were banned from school and almost all jobs, and endured corporal punishment for violations such as not wearing a burqa in public. Yet every few months, new decrees are issued about which careers women may have, how far they may travel without a male guardian and what they may wear outside the home. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Afghans go about their evening, where few women are seen after sundown, on the main thoroughfare in downtown Bamian. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Earlier this month, the Afghan Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — which occupies the building that once housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry — ordered women to be banned from entering amusement parks.

  1. A few days later, it banned them from gyms and hammams, public baths that were already segregated by sex.
  2. Secondary schooling has been an especially sore point.
  3. In the fall of last year, authorities allowed Afghan girls to enroll in primary schools and universities and promised to resume secondary education at the start of the new school year March 23.

But that day, as high school girls streamed into classrooms, officials reversed course and postponed classes indefinitely until “a comprehensive plan has been prepared according to sharia and Afghan culture.” Last month, they allowed female students who were in 12th grade before the republic’s collapse to take the university placement exam known as the Kankor — but blocked off majors they deemed inappropriate for young women to pursue, including economics, engineering, journalism and veterinary medicine. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Students are preparing and studying for the Kankor exam at a private tutoring center in Bamian, Afghanistan, on Sept.23, 2022. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women Afghan girls attend a religious school, the only permitted form of education for girls between sixth and 12th grade, at Hawza Elmya Mahdia Madrasa in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) The intransigence toward girls’ education has had material consequences in one of the world’s poorest countries.

  1. International aid groups, which now provide assistance to roughly half of Afghanistan’s population, see the reversal on secondary education as an inflection point that has affected donors’ willingness to give.
  2. Western governments had long claimed women’s rights as a primary justification for their occupation of Afghanistan and pointed to advances for women as a rare bright spot in their 20-year experiment in nation-building.
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Even Afghan businessmen living abroad who were interested in returning to their homeland or had already come back to take advantage of the lowest level of fighting in 40 years changed course. “Before that decision there was optimism. People started feeling late last year that things were going in a safe, good direction.

  1. But when they reversed the school opening, it was a game changer,” said Sulaiman Bin Shah, a former official at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry who still lives in Kabul.
  2. All the energy that was built, it went down.
  3. Donors, they stopped their plans.
  4. People who had investment plans for the spring, they also have kids and want them educated, so they stopped everything, took their families and left.” In the face of international opprobrium, Taliban officials insist that they’re applying Islamic law and that the West, rather than genuinely caring about women’s rights, is using them as a cudgel to punish the group for winning the war.

They point out that the country is the most peaceful it has been in decades, meaning that more children — including girls — are able to go to school and that the emirate they’ve built over the remains of the vanquished republic better reflects what most Afghans want. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Narges Razuli, 16, works in a makeshift outdoor bazaar in Bamian, Afghanistan. Narges takes daily English classes and aspires to become an entrepreneur, but says she can’t plan for her future because she’s not allowed to finish school officially. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women A group of friends, all college students from Ghor province, visit Band-e Amir National Park, a popular tourist attraction near Yakawlang in central Afghanistan in September 2022. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Bamian, a breathtakingly beautiful central Afghan province dominated by the Hazara, a mostly Shiite Muslim minority that has faced persecution from the Taliban, wholeheartedly enlisted in America’s project.

  1. Rather than monochromatic full-body coverings, women here wore colorful headscarves and even now still dare to show their faces on the street, despite the occasional admonishment from the Taliban’s morality police.
  2. During the republic’s time, they took full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the U.S.-led invasion to become doctors, lawyers, soldiers and journalists.

Wafa now contemplates the loss of all that. Her eldest, 20-year-old Meena Ibrahimi, had finished 12th grade before the Taliban takeover; she planned to study law and aspired to become a member of parliament or a diplomat representing Afghanistan at the United Nations.

“Of course none of that will happen now,” Ibrahimi said. She had waited for more than a year to take the Kankor, but didn’t bother applying for law or anything else not related to medicine, one of the few fields open to women under the Taliban. “The Taliban don’t care about the constitution or women’s rights.

If the situation continues, those who study law won’t be employed,” she said. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi, 20, center, helps her mother, Zahra Wafa, left, and her sister Zainab at their handicrafts shop in Bamian’s central bazaar. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) At least she wasn’t in limbo like her sister Zainab. A 16-year-old 10th-grader, Zainab hoped to be a doctor, an achievable dream if it were possible to finish her secondary schooling.

But with those schools shuttered, Ibrahimi’s class will be the last cohort of Afghan girls and young women to enter university. “The first time the Taliban took over, it was my mother who had to bear the consequences. Now, 20 years later, we’re suffering the same thing,” Ibrahimi said, glancing at Wafa, who looked at the floor, a tight frown on her face and tears slowly filling her eyes.

Wafa sighed, then said: “When the Taliban were defeated the first time, I thought they would never return. It was like a new world.” The newfound freedom after the first Taliban regime fell, in 2001, drove her and her husband, Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammadi, a 46-year-old farmer and laborer, to do all they could to ensure their children — two daughters and three sons — had an education. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Taliban morality police patrol the streets to enforce dress codes in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi, 20, center, and other students study for the Kankor exam at a private tutoring center in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) That’s still true. After the Taliban takeover, Wafa rented a room in Bamian city for her daughters and enrolled them in private English courses, which cost 500 afghanis (almost $6) per month.

Computer classes were too expensive, she said. To afford it, Wafa wakes up most mornings shortly after daybreak, hikes 30 minutes from Nawa Foladi till she reaches something resembling a road, catches a taxi for the hourlong trip to her handicrafts shop in the city’s central bazaar and works all day before returning home by late evening to prepare food over a stove heated with cow-dung patties and wash clothes in a nearby brook.

In former times, the shop had brought her 25,000 afghanis a month, some $300. These days she makes less than a third of that, and covering her children’s education takes at least a quarter of her earnings. “I have to work because of my family,” she said, adding that her husband was in charge of the family expenses but it was her income that covered the schooling of their children.

Rather than wait for the central government to have a change of heart about secondary education for girls, teacher and activist Taiba Rahim has chosen to seek compromise solutions with local Taliban officials, especially in parts of the country where they have less support for their austere interpretation of Islam.

She leads Nai Qala, an education-focused organization that builds schools and trains teachers in rural areas, mostly in the central and northern provinces. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Taiba Rahim, left, runs a team-building exercise in Kabul with participants. She leads Nai Qala, an education-focused organization that builds schools and trains teachers in rural provinces of Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) In May, it opened its most recent project, a six-classroom school serving students ages 7 to 16 — including girls.

It was a victory that Rahim said came after she convinced Taliban administrators of the benefits that girls’ education could bring to their villages, such as helping to alleviate poverty and bringing services for women and children. “As a woman, as a Hazara, I’m supposed to tell the Taliban I don’t like them.

But I can’t close my eyes to this: They’re the reality of the country,” Rahim said. “We’ve fought and wasted so much time already. We have to build a common vision. There’s extreme poverty here. These people don’t have the luxury, time or choice as to who should go to school.” Meena Ibrahimi’s Kankor results came in last month.

  • Her score was the highest a girl has ever achieved at her still-shuttered school in Nawa Foladi.
  • But unlike the two previous years, when female students got the highest grades in all of Afghanistan, no girl made it into the top 10 nationwide this year, local media said.
  • Ibrahimi was accepted to Kabul Medical University, to major in public health.

Wafa doesn’t know how she’ll pay for it, but it would make her too angry not to try. “When the Taliban ruled the first time, we were illiterate and didn’t know our rights,” she said. “This time we do.” Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi and her father, Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammadi, 46, tear up while talking about their experiences while at their home in Nawa Foladi, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
View complete answer

What is being done about girls education in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is the only country in the world that forbids girls to go school. Before the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, 3.7 million children were out of school – most of them girls. Since then, the regime has banned an additional 1,254,473 Afghan girls from attending secondary school.
View complete answer

Is female education allowed in Afghanistan?

BAMIAN, Afghanistan — When Zahra Wafa thinks about what it took to put her daughters through school, her face hardens. She remembers the days she and her husband ate only bread to afford their children’s education, how it had all seemed worth it to give them a chance at a future beyond Nawa Foladi, a village in central Afghanistan with a single dirt track, hand-pumped wells and no electricity. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Zahra Wafa, center, leads her daughters with chores at their home in Nawa Foladi, a village near Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) “We worked hard, spent so much money on this and they’re so intelligent. And now they’re supposed to just sit at home?” she said.

“Every time I think about it I get a headache.” A year after the precipitous fall of the U.S.-backed republic and the Islamic militants’ ascension to power, Wafa and her daughters, like so many women and girls across Afghanistan, are grappling with the Taliban’s hard-line vision for the country and its plan to turn back the clock not only on their education but their very presence in public life.

The group claims it has no interest in restoring its 1990s regime, when girls were banned from school and almost all jobs, and endured corporal punishment for violations such as not wearing a burqa in public. Yet every few months, new decrees are issued about which careers women may have, how far they may travel without a male guardian and what they may wear outside the home. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Afghans go about their evening, where few women are seen after sundown, on the main thoroughfare in downtown Bamian. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Earlier this month, the Afghan Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — which occupies the building that once housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry — ordered women to be banned from entering amusement parks.

A few days later, it banned them from gyms and hammams, public baths that were already segregated by sex. Secondary schooling has been an especially sore point. In the fall of last year, authorities allowed Afghan girls to enroll in primary schools and universities and promised to resume secondary education at the start of the new school year March 23.

But that day, as high school girls streamed into classrooms, officials reversed course and postponed classes indefinitely until “a comprehensive plan has been prepared according to sharia and Afghan culture.” Last month, they allowed female students who were in 12th grade before the republic’s collapse to take the university placement exam known as the Kankor — but blocked off majors they deemed inappropriate for young women to pursue, including economics, engineering, journalism and veterinary medicine. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Students are preparing and studying for the Kankor exam at a private tutoring center in Bamian, Afghanistan, on Sept.23, 2022. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women Afghan girls attend a religious school, the only permitted form of education for girls between sixth and 12th grade, at Hawza Elmya Mahdia Madrasa in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) The intransigence toward girls’ education has had material consequences in one of the world’s poorest countries.

  • International aid groups, which now provide assistance to roughly half of Afghanistan’s population, see the reversal on secondary education as an inflection point that has affected donors’ willingness to give.
  • Western governments had long claimed women’s rights as a primary justification for their occupation of Afghanistan and pointed to advances for women as a rare bright spot in their 20-year experiment in nation-building.

Even Afghan businessmen living abroad who were interested in returning to their homeland or had already come back to take advantage of the lowest level of fighting in 40 years changed course. “Before that decision there was optimism. People started feeling late last year that things were going in a safe, good direction.

But when they reversed the school opening, it was a game changer,” said Sulaiman Bin Shah, a former official at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry who still lives in Kabul. “All the energy that was built, it went down. Donors, they stopped their plans. People who had investment plans for the spring, they also have kids and want them educated, so they stopped everything, took their families and left.” In the face of international opprobrium, Taliban officials insist that they’re applying Islamic law and that the West, rather than genuinely caring about women’s rights, is using them as a cudgel to punish the group for winning the war.

They point out that the country is the most peaceful it has been in decades, meaning that more children — including girls — are able to go to school and that the emirate they’ve built over the remains of the vanquished republic better reflects what most Afghans want. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Narges Razuli, 16, works in a makeshift outdoor bazaar in Bamian, Afghanistan. Narges takes daily English classes and aspires to become an entrepreneur, but says she can’t plan for her future because she’s not allowed to finish school officially. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women A group of friends, all college students from Ghor province, visit Band-e Amir National Park, a popular tourist attraction near Yakawlang in central Afghanistan in September 2022. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Bamian, a breathtakingly beautiful central Afghan province dominated by the Hazara, a mostly Shiite Muslim minority that has faced persecution from the Taliban, wholeheartedly enlisted in America’s project.

Rather than monochromatic full-body coverings, women here wore colorful headscarves and even now still dare to show their faces on the street, despite the occasional admonishment from the Taliban’s morality police. During the republic’s time, they took full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the U.S.-led invasion to become doctors, lawyers, soldiers and journalists.

Wafa now contemplates the loss of all that. Her eldest, 20-year-old Meena Ibrahimi, had finished 12th grade before the Taliban takeover; she planned to study law and aspired to become a member of parliament or a diplomat representing Afghanistan at the United Nations.

Of course none of that will happen now,” Ibrahimi said. She had waited for more than a year to take the Kankor, but didn’t bother applying for law or anything else not related to medicine, one of the few fields open to women under the Taliban. “The Taliban don’t care about the constitution or women’s rights.

If the situation continues, those who study law won’t be employed,” she said. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi, 20, center, helps her mother, Zahra Wafa, left, and her sister Zainab at their handicrafts shop in Bamian’s central bazaar. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) At least she wasn’t in limbo like her sister Zainab. A 16-year-old 10th-grader, Zainab hoped to be a doctor, an achievable dream if it were possible to finish her secondary schooling.

  1. But with those schools shuttered, Ibrahimi’s class will be the last cohort of Afghan girls and young women to enter university.
  2. The first time the Taliban took over, it was my mother who had to bear the consequences.
  3. Now, 20 years later, we’re suffering the same thing,” Ibrahimi said, glancing at Wafa, who looked at the floor, a tight frown on her face and tears slowly filling her eyes.

Wafa sighed, then said: “When the Taliban were defeated the first time, I thought they would never return. It was like a new world.” The newfound freedom after the first Taliban regime fell, in 2001, drove her and her husband, Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammadi, a 46-year-old farmer and laborer, to do all they could to ensure their children — two daughters and three sons — had an education. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Taliban morality police patrol the streets to enforce dress codes in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi, 20, center, and other students study for the Kankor exam at a private tutoring center in Bamian, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) That’s still true. After the Taliban takeover, Wafa rented a room in Bamian city for her daughters and enrolled them in private English courses, which cost 500 afghanis (almost $6) per month.

  • Computer classes were too expensive, she said.
  • To afford it, Wafa wakes up most mornings shortly after daybreak, hikes 30 minutes from Nawa Foladi till she reaches something resembling a road, catches a taxi for the hourlong trip to her handicrafts shop in the city’s central bazaar and works all day before returning home by late evening to prepare food over a stove heated with cow-dung patties and wash clothes in a nearby brook.

In former times, the shop had brought her 25,000 afghanis a month, some $300. These days she makes less than a third of that, and covering her children’s education takes at least a quarter of her earnings. “I have to work because of my family,” she said, adding that her husband was in charge of the family expenses but it was her income that covered the schooling of their children.

Rather than wait for the central government to have a change of heart about secondary education for girls, teacher and activist Taiba Rahim has chosen to seek compromise solutions with local Taliban officials, especially in parts of the country where they have less support for their austere interpretation of Islam.

She leads Nai Qala, an education-focused organization that builds schools and trains teachers in rural areas, mostly in the central and northern provinces. Why Is The Taliban Against Women Taiba Rahim, left, runs a team-building exercise in Kabul with participants. She leads Nai Qala, an education-focused organization that builds schools and trains teachers in rural provinces of Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) In May, it opened its most recent project, a six-classroom school serving students ages 7 to 16 — including girls.

  • It was a victory that Rahim said came after she convinced Taliban administrators of the benefits that girls’ education could bring to their villages, such as helping to alleviate poverty and bringing services for women and children.
  • As a woman, as a Hazara, I’m supposed to tell the Taliban I don’t like them.

But I can’t close my eyes to this: They’re the reality of the country,” Rahim said. “We’ve fought and wasted so much time already. We have to build a common vision. There’s extreme poverty here. These people don’t have the luxury, time or choice as to who should go to school.” Meena Ibrahimi’s Kankor results came in last month.

Her score was the highest a girl has ever achieved at her still-shuttered school in Nawa Foladi. But unlike the two previous years, when female students got the highest grades in all of Afghanistan, no girl made it into the top 10 nationwide this year, local media said. Ibrahimi was accepted to Kabul Medical University, to major in public health.

Wafa doesn’t know how she’ll pay for it, but it would make her too angry not to try. “When the Taliban ruled the first time, we were illiterate and didn’t know our rights,” she said. “This time we do.” Why Is The Taliban Against Women Meena Ibrahimi and her father, Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammadi, 46, tear up while talking about their experiences while at their home in Nawa Foladi, Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Are girls allowed to be educated in Afghanistan?

In August 2021 the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, and since then secondary education for girls in the country has been banned. However, there have been reports of clandestine girls’ schools operating despite the ban, Teenage girls are reportedly taking extraordinary risks to attend lessons.

  • Their teachers bravely share knowledge, even if they do not have extensive experience or the backup of an education system.
  • Education for girls was also banned during the previous era of Taliban rule in Afghanistan (1996-2001).
  • In this period, too, girls attended secret schools,
  • Not much was known about these schools during Taliban rule.

A 1997 report noted that the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan supported 125 girls’ schools and 87 co-education primary schools and home schools. An article in the Guardian in July 2001 stated that aid agencies had estimated 45,000 children were attending secret schools.

  • After the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, the educational work of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan ( RAWA ), which they carried out during Taliban rule, was much documented,
  • Before 9/11, there was very limited international knowledge of these secret schools for girls.
  • But after 9/11, the misogynistic actions of the Taliban regarding women’s rights and girls’ education became a pillar of the argument for the US War against Terror.

When visiting Afghanistan in December 2001, UNICEF executive director Carole Bellamy referenced secret schools as part of a call for aid funding, The existence of these schools exerted considerable symbolic power,
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