Girls demand reopening of schools, accuse Taliban of ‘discriminatory policies’

File photo.

Female students in Afghanistan, who have been deprived of an education for months, have once again raised their voices against the Taliban’s discriminatory policies targeting women and girls. They have demanded an immediate reopening of schools, and also accuse the international community of not paying enough attention to their plight.

It has been 674 days since girls’ schools above the sixth grade were closed, leaving thousands of young girls without access to education. For these students, each day without school feels like a year, they say, adding that their hopes for a better future have started to wane.

“I will be in seventh grade next year, and I’m worried about falling behind in my studies,” said Iqlima, one of the affected students.

“The Taliban keeps saying schools will open today or tomorrow, but how much longer will we have to wait?” questioned Madina, another student.

Recently, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the acting interior minister of the Taliban, visited Herat province with a delegation from the Taliban’s Ministry of Defense, the Supreme Court, and National Security to address challenges in the western region. He stated that the issue of girls’ education is controversial and could potentially lead to a crisis if not handled carefully.

He said efforts are underway to find a reasonable and smooth solution to the issue. However, the Taliban is cautious about the situation escalating into a dispute that could further destabilize the country. “Our impression is that we should not let rumors escalate to a point where Afghanistan witnesses another crisis,” Haqqani remarked.

Despite these assurances, the international community remains deeply concerned about the Taliban’s ongoing restrictions on women’s rights. Women’s rights activists emphasized that effective steps and increased pressure are necessary from the global community to urge the Taliban to lift restrictions on women.

They added that without international intervention, the Taliban will continue to impose even more constraints on women in Afghanistan. “Until the international community takes effective steps and puts more pressure on the Taliban, the group will not be willing to reduce the restrictions on Afghan women, and with each passing day, they will increase their restrictions on Afghan women,” said Maryam Arvin, a women’s rights activist.

The United Nations has reported that the Taliban has issued over 50 directives that curb or eliminate women’s freedoms. The US State Department has made it clear that the Taliban will not be recognized until they cease implementing these oppressive policies against women and girls in the country.