The Taliban education ministry on Saturday ordered male students and teachers in grades 6 to 12 to report to their schools. The announcement issued on Friday did not mention girl students at all, raising fears that girls will once again be excluded from secondary education.
When it last came to power between 1996 and 2001, the extremist group banned the education and work of women and girls and severely restricted their rights.
But speaking to Granthshala on Saturday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said women would be allowed to read.
Mujahid told Granthshala that the Taliban is working on creating a safe transportation system for girls in grades 6 to 12.
“There are certain rules that must be followed during their class time so that they can be safe and sound,” he said.
Mujahid pointed out that women are being allowed to continue studying in other age groups. “We have girls in universities who continue their education in both private and government funded universities, but from grades 6 to 12 we are currently trying to provide a There is a chance for them to move on, and it is a work in progress,” he said.
An Afghan girl hoping to go back to school told Granthshala that the Taliban’s announcement on Friday came as a shock, especially since the group had previously allowed girls to attend primary schools.
“I was hoping to go back to school and get closer to my big dreams, but now everything looks hazy,” Tamana told Granthshala. “If the Taliban doesn’t allow us to go back to school, our future and our hopes will be crushed forever.”
Taliban leaders have repeatedly promised to respect women’s rights, asserting publicly that women will play a major role in society and that they will have access to education.
While women have been allowed to continue their university education, the Taliban have mandated gender segregation in classrooms and said that female students, lecturers and staff must wear the hijab according to the group’s interpretation of Sharia law.
UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said the organization was “deeply concerned” that girls would be excluded from education. She said on Friday, “Girls cannot and should not be left behind. It is important that all girls, including older girls, can resume their education without any further delay. For this, we have to start teaching again.” Women teachers are needed for this,” she said on Friday. .
Granthshala’s Nick Robertson and Ingrid Formanek reported from Afghanistan, Granthshala’s Taylor Barnes from Atlanta and Granthshala’s Ivana Kottasova from London.
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