US special envoy begins trip for talks on women in Afghanistan

US Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights Rina Amiri will travel to Indonesia, Switzerland, and Turkey this week to discuss issues around the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

Amiri’s trip started Monday, December 5, and will end on December 16. In this time she will also participate at the International Conference for Afghan Women’s Education co-hosted by the governments of Indonesia and Qatar to support Afghan women and girls’ access to education, the US State Department said in a statement on Monday.

It added that she will also consult with bilateral and multilateral partners, UN representatives, and Afghans, including women and civil society leaders, regarding the current human rights situation in Afghanistan.

Afghan women have gone through a challenging situation over the past 15 months under Taliban rule as they have been deprived of many of their basic rights. Moreover, secondary schools are closed for girls over the past year.

Taliban last week announced they would hold the exam for 12th-year students, for all subjects, in one day. The exam will be held in Kabul and other provinces on Wednesday.

A number of students said that they are not ready for the exam as they were deprived of schooling for the past one and a half years.

“The exam will be held on December 7. The question is why is it being held and for which purpose? It will not be in our favor. We are not ready for it. We don’t know why it is being held now. It is a symbolic move,” said Fatima, a female student.

“Taliban has decided to promote students by holding an annual exam. We were away from schooling over the past year and we are not ready for it,” said Sahar, another student.

A teacher meanwhile said it will be a good move for students from 12th grade as it pave the way for them to attend next year’s university entrance exam.

“It can open the way for them to higher education. They can attend private universities to continue their higher education,” said Sonia Nayil, a university lecturer.

Figures show that at least 1.1 million girls have been deprived of schooling over the past 440 days in Afghanistan.