Activists’ open letter urges support for women, girls’ education in Afghanistan

An open letter addressing the United Nations Secretary General has been published by a campaign advocating for girls’ access to education in Afghanistan. The letter, supported by 30 organizations and 314 girls’ rights advocates, appeals to world leaders and member countries to fulfill their obligations by providing support for female students in Afghanistan.

The campaign calls upon diplomatic pressure to compel the Taliban to immediately reopen girls’ schools and ensure access to quality education for girls in the country. It highlights the fact that more than 659 days have passed since the closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade, underscoring the urgent need for action.

The letter emphasizes the importance of the United Nations and its member countries in supporting the education of Afghan girls. It voices the aspirations of girls who have been prohibited by the Taliban from attending schools and universities, expressing their desire to return to educational institutions through the endorsement of this campaign.

One student, Fariha, who was in the 11th grade in a school in Herat, shared her frustration with a life without prospects and expressed hope that the efforts made will yield positive results.

Fariha recounts her personal experience, stating that doors to education have been closed for nearly two years, depriving them of lessons and training. Even access to training courses, such as an English program she was enrolled in, has been denied due to the prevailing circumstances.

Women’s rights activists criticized the international community for tolerating the Taliban’s discriminatory policies against women. Maryam Arwin, a women’s rights activist, emphasized that without practical steps and genuine pressure from the international community and institutions like the United Nations, Afghan women and girls will continue to be denied their basic rights.

Despite numerous appeals from protest movements, women’s rights organizations, and the United Nations, the Taliban has not taken any action to reopen girls’ schools in the country, despite almost two years having passed since their closure.

Girls’ education in Afghanistan

Girls’ education in Afghanistan has long been a topic of concern due to various challenges and restrictions imposed by different regimes. Under Taliban rule in the past, girls were entirely barred from attending schools. Although progress was made in recent years with the establishment of girls’ schools and an increase in enrollment, the situation remains fragile.

Educational opportunities for girls have faced setbacks following the Taliban’s return to power. Since the closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade, many young girls have been deprived of education for an extended period. Women’s rights activists, along with international organizations and the United Nations, have consistently advocated for the reopening of girls’ schools and equal access to education for all Afghan children.