Girls from Afghanistan pen desperate letter to world leaders

File photo.

Almost 1,000 girls in Afghanistan have penned an open letter to world leaders, including leaders of Islamic countries, voicing their anguish over the ban on female education.

The girls also stated that the ban has left them feeling “broken” and totally cut off from society.

In the two years since the Taliban regained power, its leaders have systematically issued decrees and orders against women and girls. The Taliban first banned girls older than 12 from attending school, and then went on to ban them from attending university and from working for NGOs.

The letter sent to world leaders echoes the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of women and girls in the country and coincides with the second anniversary of the closure of secondary schools for girls.

The appeal was written by girls from 21 provinces in Afghanistan as well as some who live in exile in the neighboring countries of Iran and Pakistan. 

“We are feeling broken and [live] inside a cave. We are very hopeless and are worried about our uncertain future,” the letter reads.

The letter cited that after the ban on school for girls above grade six, many attempted suicide, were forced into early marriage while some also died under mysterious circumstances.

The girls who signed the letter called on international organizations, Islamic countries and UN member states to stand by girls from Afghanistan and education activists and offer their support.

The Taliban closed schools to teenage girls just one month after taking control of the country. On September 18, 2021, the Taliban announced the nationwide ban, stating at the time it was just a temporary suspension. Two years later, girls are still deprived of an education above grade 6.

On Monday, in a message on the second anniversary of the ban, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a post on X the ban was an unjustifiable violation of human rights that will inflict long-lasting damage on the entire country.

Girls belong in school, Guterres said and called on the Taliban to “let them back in.”

Amnesty International in turn said the “situation” for girls in the country “remains the same” for two years and expressed concern that the future and dreams of thousands of girls were at “stake”.

“The Taliban must be held accountable,” Amnesty International added, urging the Taliban to reverse their decision. 

This comes as heads of states and governments from around the World gather in New York for the UN General Assembly to review global issues, including the current situation in Afghanistan.