Afghan women, daughters face echoes of educational ban under Taliban

In Afghanistan, history is repeating itself in a grim echo of the past. Women who grew up under the Taliban’s regime in the late 1990s, stripped of their right to education, are now witnessing their daughters grapple with the same harsh reality.

The Taliban, during their initial rule in the late 1990s, enforced a strict ban on women’s and girls’ education. This prohibition has resurfaced since their return to power in August 2021, first targeting secondary schools for girls and then, in a sweeping decree in December 2022, extending to universities.

Rana Raha, a mother among millions in Afghanistan, painfully recalls her educational journey cut short by the Taliban’s first regime. The same narrative now unfolds for her daughter, Dunya.

“I was on the path to a brighter future, in my second year of school when the Taliban’s first rule abruptly ended my studies. I could have been a university student,” Raha reflects.

Her daughter Dunya’s story mirrors her own. “When the Taliban returned, I was in the seventh grade. Since then, my school doors have been shut. It’s as if my future has dimmed,” Dunya shared.

Their story is not isolated. Sawmea Hakimi, another mother, faces the echoing despair of her three daughters being denied education, a familiar pain she endured years ago.

“I am haunted by the closure of schools, worrying endlessly about what lies ahead for my daughters,” Hakimi revealed.

These girls, like their mothers, face uncertain futures due to ongoing Taliban prohibitions. “I dream of being a lawyer, but with schools closed, I’m struggling mentally and emotionally,” said one of Hakimi’s daughters.

This generational cycle of lost educational opportunities paints a broader, more troubling picture of Afghan society. It’s a narrative of mothers and daughters bound by shared restrictions, their aspirations stifled under the weight of the Taliban’s enduring prohibitions.

In a stark global contrast, Afghanistan stands alone as the only country where the systematic denial of education for girls and women prevails, a nation where schools and universities remain off-limits to half its population.