Afghanistan: Badakhshan girls speak of heartache due to ‘uncertain future’

Women’s protest in Kabul. Oct. 2022.

Female students from Badakhshan have spoken out about their disappointment over the recent ban by the Taliban barring them from getting any form of higher education and said they now have a very uncertain future.

Over the past few months, the Taliban has systematically imposed curbs on women, with the latest round of restrictions now ‘erasing them from society’. This week they enforced a rule preventing girls and women from attending universities and on Saturday, the group ordered local and international NGOs to suspend all local female staff.

In the lead up to this week’s decisions, the Taliban had already ordered women to wear full hijab or burqa, they suspended secondary schools for girls, banned women from traveling without a male escort, and banned them from parks, among others.

Sohaila, who recently graduated from Badakhshan University, from the Faculty of Computer Science, raised her voice over the uncertain future of Afghan women.

“Learning about the news was very difficult for me. When I went to the university to submit my thesis, I was not allowed to enter the university. The Taliban wasted four years of my hard work,” she said.

Following the Taliban’s order to close higher education facilities to women, Afghan women staged protests in key cities, including Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, and Takhar, to protest the Taliban’s decision.
Noushin, a resident of Shaghnan district who lives in the provincial capital Faizabad, of Badakhshan, in order to pursue her education, said: “I was supposed to finish the 8th grade but the schools were closed to us and I am very disappointed.”

“I came to Faizabad to pursue courses (tuition classes), but now that the courses are closed, everything is over for me and I find it impossible to achieve my dreams in this country,” she added.
Lina, another female student, also raised concerns about her and her siblings’ uncertain future.

“The situation is very tough. When I see at home that my sisters don’t eat food, due to their studies and they don’t stop crying for several days, the world becomes worthless to me,” she said.

Afghan women not only have been erased from the Taliban–government structure but also removed from exercising their basic rights such as getting an education, going out without a male guardian, and visiting public parks and baths.