In July, the Taliban announced a meeting of hand-picked people clerks decide the fate of the school ban. But only two clerics came to support the girls’ education. Since then, the Taliban have made no progress on whether they are willing to compromise.
“Initially we hoped they would reopen the schools, but over time we noticed that no, they were doing something else. They just issue anti-women verdicts after every day,” Nazhand said. “I don’t think they are ready to reopen schools, the Taliban have no problem with girls’ schools, but they want to exploit them politically. They want to continue to rule society by banning girls’ schools. It is in their interest to impose restrictions on women because they cannot do so on men.
After the American military intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001 that ousted the Taliban from power, the war-torn country went through a series of socio-economic reforms and reconstruction programs. The post-Taliban constitution, which was ratified in 2004, expanded women’s rights to go to school, vote, work, serve in civic institutions and demonstrate. In 2009, women ran for president for the first time in the country’s history.
But four decades of war and hostility have inflicted considerable damage on Afghanistan’s basic infrastructure, including the country’s educational resources.
And even before the Taliban took power on August 15, a report by UNICEF found that Afghanistan had struggled with over 4.2 million out-of-school children, 60% of whom were girls. Although the potential costs of not enrolling both boys and girls in school are high in terms of lost earnings, not enrolling girls in school is particularly costly because of the relationship between educational attainment and student delay. marriage and childbearing, participate in the labor market, make choices about their own future. , and invest more in the health and education of their own children later in life. The analysis indicates that Afghanistan will not be able to recover the GDP lost during the transition and achieve its true potential productivity without respecting girls’ rights to access and complete secondary education. UNICEF has also estimated that if the current cohort of 3 million girls were able to complete secondary education and participate in the labor market, they would contribute at least $5.4 billion to the Afghan economy.
A report by Amnesty International also says that the Taliban have prevented women all over Afghanistan from working.
“Most female government employees have been ordered to stay home, except for those working in certain sectors such as health and education,” the report said. “In the private sector, many women have been laid off from high-level positions. Taliban policy appears to be that they will only allow women who cannot be replaced by men to continue working. Women who continued to work told Amnesty International they found it extremely difficult in the face of Taliban-imposed restrictions on their dress and behavior, such as requiring female doctors to avoid treating male patients or interact with male colleagues.
“Twenty years ago, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the first thing they did was ban women’s access to education,” Nazhand said. “The Taliban have kept a large number of women in isolation and as an illiterate population; the result was a paralyzed and backward society. Let’s not forget that the Taliban still suffer from the radical and repressive mindset they had 20 years ago. We must not remain the women we were 20 years ago and we will not remain silent.
Security threats and acts of terrorism have also been a major concern for students in Afghanistan. In late October, a suicide bomber attacked a class of more than 500 students in western Kabul, killing at least 54 graduates, including 54 young girls. The attack marked the second deadly attack on education centers in the country since the Taliban took power.