UN condemns ‘shameful’ year-long ban on Afghan girls’ education

In the picture, some school girls are walking on the street. — AFP/File
  • In addition to closing girls’ high schools, the Taliban have barred women from many government jobs.
  • More than one million adolescent girls across the country are deprived of education.
  • UN chief Antonio Guterres has urged the Taliban to end the ban.

KABUL: The United Nations on Sunday urged the Taliban to reopen high schools for girls. AfghanistanIt condemned the ban, which began a year ago, as “regrettable and shameful”.

Weeks after the group seized power in August last year, they reopened high schools for boys on September 18 but banned secondary school girls from attending classes.

Months later on March 23, the Ministry of Education opened secondary schools for girls, but within hours, the Taliban leadership ordered them closed again.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that since then, more than a million teenage girls across the country have been out of school.

“This is a tragic, shameful and entirely avoidable anniversary,” UNAMA acting chief Markus Potzel said in a statement.

“This is very damaging to a generation of girls and to the future of Afghanistan itself,” she said. He further said that this ban has no precedent in the world.

The head of the United Nations Antonio Gutierrez The Taliban have demanded to end the ban.

“A year of lost knowledge and opportunity that he will never get back,” Guterres said on Twitter.

“The girls belong in school. The Taliban should let them come back.”

Several Taliban officials say the ban is only temporary, but they have offered excuses for the closure – from a lack of funds to the time needed to restructure the curriculum along Islamic lines.

Earlier this month, local media quoted Education Minister Noorullah Munir as saying it was a cultural issue, as many rural people did not want their teenage daughters to go to school.

‘The Year of Despair’

Kausar, a Grade 12 student, who gave a pseudonym to protect her identity, said she was disappointed that her high school had been closed for a year.

“It has been a dark year, a year full of stress and despair,” he said.

“Education is our basic right. Society needs women doctors and teachers, boys alone cannot meet all the needs of society.”

Many conservative Afghan scholars within the The Taliban There are doubts about modern education.

Last month, officials said they were increasing mandatory religious classes at public universities, though no subjects would be dropped from the current curriculum.

Reacting to the education minister’s comments in local media, Kainat, a school teacher, said parents and families across Afghanistan are eager to educate their daughters.

“They want their girls to achieve their goal, every family wants their children, including girls, to serve the nation,” said Kainat, who also gave a pseudonym.

“It is wrong to say that people in Afghanistan do not want their girls to be educated.”

After seizing power on August 15 last year during the withdrawal of foreign forces, the Taliban have promised a softer version of their harsh rule in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

But within days, they began imposing strict restrictions on girls and women to conform to their strict vision of Islam – effectively shutting them out of public life.

In addition to closing girls’ high schools, the Taliban have barred women from many government jobs and ordered them to veil in public, preferably wearing the burqa everywhere.

Due to pressure from families and tribal leaders, some high schools for girls have opened in provinces far from the main power bases of Kabul and Kandahar.

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