Activists in Kabul ‘disappointed’ as secondary schools remain closed for girls

A group of women who held an indoor protest in Kabul criticized the Taliban on Wednesday for its lack of will to reopen secondary schools for girls and universities for women, saying the group is “an enemy of education” in Afghanistan.

The activists held up banners carrying slogans of the Taliban being an ‘enemy of girls’ knowledge’; ‘an educated mother, an educated society’; ‘reopen schools for girls’; and, ‘No to Taliban’.

The new school year started on Tuesday but the Taliban allowed boys until Grade 12 and girls from Grades 1 to 6 to return to school. Primary schools for girls were allowed to open but with conditions.

The activists said however that the Taliban is playing with the fate of Afghan women and the group is trying to erase half the adult population from society.

Meanwhile, another group of activists opened a book expo on a street in the west of Kabul on Wednesday to advocate for women and girls’ right to education and to promote the culture of reading books.

Partaw, the name of the expo, was also aimed at criticizing the continued closure of secondary schools for girls in the country.

A number of women who attended the expo said they were very disappointed to see that secondary schools had not been reopened for girls this year.

“Women have been constrained at home. Some have gotten married. They’re busy with activities at home while they need to go to schools and universities as the new (solar) year begins,” said Sharifa Husaini, a Kabul resident.

“Almighty Allah has sent the first verse of the Quran about education but I have no idea why we cannot have the right to education and why they took the right to education from women and girls,” said Samira Ahmadi, one of the expo’s organizers.

Taliban was expected to announce “a new mechanism” as they have put it to reopen secondary schools for girls but the group has not made the move – 547 days after banning girls from secondary school.