Published: 23rd March 2022
Taliban turns tail on its decision to allow all girls to return to school. Restricts girls' education to Class VI
The Taliban government in Afghanistan had earlier urged all students to attend schools that reopen from today across the country
The celebration was short-lived for girls expecting to get an education under the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The terror group has reneged on its decision to allow "all students" to attend schools as they reopened today, on Wednesday, March 23. In a late-night announcement on March 22, the administration said that schools will not reopen beyond Class VI for girls.
Even as recently as last week, the Education Ministry of the Taliban administration had urged all students to return to school. However, the decision last night seems to have been a reflection of the hardline stance of the top leadership of the organisation, according to a report by the Associated Press. The government, which was formed in August last year after toppling the Ashraf Ghani-led administration, has been under immense pressure from the international community to ensure equity and human rights for women and girls. Universities had reopened on February 26, 2022, with separate classrooms for boys and girls. However, the Taliban has banned women from a host of jobs, according to a report by ANI, and therefore, it remains to be seen how many women choose to return to classrooms. Most provinces in the state have closed educational institutions for girls.
The religiously-driven Taliban administration fears going forward with enrolling girls beyond Class VI as it could erode their base, said Waheedullah Hashmi, external relations and donor representative with the Taliban-led administration. Hashmi said to AP that it is the rural areas of Afghanistan, particularly amongst the ethnic Pashtuns, where people are stringently against girls' education. It is under pressure from this base of supporters that the Taliban administration has not been able to decide on allowing girls to attend school beyond Class VII.
"We did everything the Taliban asked in terms of Islamic dress and they promised that girls could go to school and now they have broken their promise," said Mariam Naheebi, a local journalist who spoke to the Associated Press in the Afghan capital. Naheebi has protested for women's rights and says, "they have not been honest with us."