Taliban to allow girls to attend schools, says UNICEF official

The Taliban have promised that girls will return to school.

Although the Taliban government ordered the reopening of high schools for boys on September 18, girls have not yet been allowed to attend secondary schools. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the Taliban have pledged to reopen girls’ schools very soon.

A senior UNICEF official has said that the Taliban have declared that they would allow girls to continue their schooling above the sixth grade. The Taliban have not yet commented on the issue. However, Bilal Karimi, a spokesman for the Taliban government, had previously told Hasht-e Subh that work was underway to reopen girls’ secondary schools.

Mr. Karimi did not specify when the procedure would be finalized, but UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director said that it should be published “between a month and two”. Most international organizations have called for the immediate reopening of secondary schools for girls in Afghanistan. Amnesty International has also called on the Taliban to immediately allow girls to continue their education in Afghanistan.

Amnesty International has said that the rights and aspirations of an entire generation of girls are dismissed and crushed. The organization called on the international community to ensure that adequate funding is allocated to the education sector in Afghanistan so that schools can continue to operate through non-governmental organizations.

“The Taliban Minister of Education has told us that they are working on a framework,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi, who visited Kabul last week, told reporters at UN headquarters on Friday (October 15). “According to this framework, all girls will be allowed to continue schooling.”

Mr. Abdi has expressed hope that this will happen soon. Omar Abdi said the United Nations had asked Taliban officials to allow girls to resume their studies. Abdi stressed that he met with Taliban officials a week ago during his visit to Afghanistan. He noted that currently only in five provinces of Afghanistan, girls are allowed to attend schools. According to UNICEF, Balkh, Jawzjan, Samangan, Kunduz, and Uruzgan are the five provinces where girls are allowed to go to school.

Some female students are concerned that their right to education has been denied. Arezo, an 11th-grade student at a public school in Kabul, says Islam has made education obligatory for everyone, adding that the Taliban should not discriminate between men and women.

“Before the Taliban, I also attended English courses,” she said. “Now the boys go to school, but the girls are not allowed. I have lost my motivation; I do not follow the English course properly.”

Addressing the Taliban, she said that a country is advancing with science and knowledge and that men and women should contribute to the development and progress of the country.

Anisa, another high school student, says she wanted to become a doctor in the future. Now that she cannot go to school, she is concerned about her future. Anisa added that society needs educated and proactive women, stressing that the Taliban should allow girls to study. However, we have to wait for the Taliban’s framework to see if the dreams of Anisa, Arezo, and the rest of Afghanistan’s girls come true.

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