Advocacy group condemns 1,000 days of ban on girls’ education in Afghanistan

A girls class at a school in the city of Kandahar. Sept. 2022. File photo.

Marking 1,000 days since the Taliban banned girls from attending school, Canada-based Education Defenders Network, an education advocacy group, issued a statement condemning the “dark and oppressive” era that began with the Taliban’s seizure of power.

The group highlighted that Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where girls and women are systematically denied their fundamental rights.

“Through over 100 stringent decrees, the Taliban have systematically oppressed, confined, and excluded the majority of girls and women from participating in normal societal life,” the statement read.

The prospects of reopening schools and universities and enabling the active presence of women in society, the group said, “remain bleak.”

The statement warned that Afghanistan may never fully recover from the ongoing generational loss. “The unfulfilled potential during this period has prevented female teachers, academics, artists, doctors, poets, and engineers from contributing their skills to their country. This loss is irreplaceable,” it stated. “Afghanistan will face enduring challenges in its recovery from the substantial loss of numerous potential female professionals, especially in a country already struggling with low levels of youth literacy.”

The Education Defenders Network cautioned that in the long run, the Taliban’s educational policies will have severe social impacts, leading to increased poverty, violence, ignorance, illiteracy, superstition, devaluation of human rights, and humanitarian crimes for Afghan citizens and the region.

The group called on the United Nations and its member states, Islamic countries, and international organizations involved in Afghanistan to take international action, boost regional cooperation to address women’s rights, and expand employment opportunities for the women of Afghanistan.