Home Education ‘Open the schools,’ Afghan girls demand in Kabul.

‘Open the schools,’ Afghan girls demand in Kabul.

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‘Open the schools,’ Afghan girls demand in Kabul.
[Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

Two dozen girls and women react to the Taliban’s decision to close all-female secondary schools in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, women and girls protested near the Taliban’s education ministry in Kabul, urging the group to restore females’ secondary schools in the country.

As armed Taliban militants looked on, the protesters chanted, “Education is our right – open the doors of girls’ schools!” They marched for a short distance, holding banners that said, “Education is a fundamental right, not a political strategy.” They scattered later in the day when Taliban fighters arrived at the location.

The Taliban have been heavily chastised for making a last-minute decision last week to close schools, only hours after adolescent children began arriving for the new academic year. Since the Taliban assumed power, the majority of the country’s girls’ primary schools and all boys’ institutions have stayed open. Still, older girls have been barred from returning to the classroom.

Last week, the Taliban’s education ministry said that girls’ secondary schools would reopen on Wednesday. Still, the group’s central leadership rejected the decision, saying they would remain closed until it developed a “complete” and “Islamic” plan.

Girls arrive at their Panjshir school.

‘Is studying a crime?’ outrage as Taliban ban female students from secondary schools

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“Even the Prophet stated that everyone has the right to education, but the Taliban have usurped this right,” one protester, Nawesa, said at the march, which two women’s rights organizations organized.

“The Taliban cannot oppress the Afghan women,” another woman, Laila Basim, stated.

Following the Taliban’s prohibition on girls’ education beyond the age of 11, women’s rights campaigner Mahbouba Seraj spoke on Afghanistan’s Tolo TV, asking, “How can we as a people trust you with your words any longer?” What can we do to earn your approval? “Are we all going to die?”

According to Matiullah Wesa, the founder of PenPath, an Afghan nonprofit that operates dozens of “hidden” schools with thousands of volunteers, plans to hold national protests demanding the Taliban reconsider its decision.

The Taliban’s U-turn is thought to result from disagreements between hardline and more moderate factions. Local Taliban leaders have let young girls continue studying in some districts, particularly in northern Afghanistan, but others oppose the concept.

On Saturday, the US special representative for Afghanistan expressed hope that it would reconsider the U-turn. “I hope this judgment will be reversed in the coming days,” Thomas West told the Doha Forum. ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES, the US has canceled business negotiations with the Taliban in Doha.

Women were denied boarding aircraft, including those heading overseas, due to their absence of a male guardian, two Afghan airline officials said on Saturday.

According to officials, hundreds of women who arrived at Kabul’s international airport on Friday to board domestic and international flights were told they could not do so without the presence of a male guardian. According to reports, several ladies were dual nationals returning to their homes abroad, including those from Canada.

Following a Taliban leadership directive, officials claimed that women were refused access to flights to Islamabad, Dubai, and Turkey on Kam Air and the state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines.

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