Taliban Renege on Promise To Allow All Afghan Girls Back in School

  • “This morning’s announcement that teenage girls across the country will not be able to attend secondary education until further notice casts a dark shadow on the start of the school year in Afghanistan,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) charity.

“Our teams on the ground tell us that in places where we work, girls were excited to return to school after eight months of closure, but arrived this morning only to be then turned away,” Egeland lamented.


“Limiting girls’ schooling to primary education will devastate their future and the future of Afghanistan.”


Girls’ secondary schools have been mostly closed in Afghanistan for the past eight months, except in 6 of 34 provinces, according to the NRC.


Qualified female teachers are scarce in remote areas, largely due to a lack of girls’ enrollment past primary grades, which further limits access for girls, making the issue a cyclical one, the charity says.


UNICEF estimates that four million children in Afghanistan are out of school, of which 60% are girls.


“Our team has conveyed our deep concern to the Taliban and has underlined the urgency of opening schools for all children,” George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF regional director, said in a statement.


“We want to see all children in Afghanistan in school, learning the skills they need for their futures.”


The global community has made access to education and work for Afghan women a key demand for any future recognition of the male-only Taliban government and restoring non-humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, where millions face hunger and poverty.


“Taliban had seven months to figure this out. If they were not able to organize in seven months, we can conclude that they are not capable of opening girls schools,” said analyst Tarek Farhadi, a former Afghan government official.


“It amounts to taking girls hostage in Afghanistan. Afghans and the world will not let them do so,” lamented Farhadi.

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