Afghan women devastated by the Taliban ban on women’s education

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The Taliban promised on Monday, March 21, that Afghan middle and high school girls would be able to resume their education by midweek. They withdrew two hours after classes began, Wednesday March 23.

From our correspondent in Islamabad

On Tuesday night, 15-year-old Diana went to bed happy after seven months of returning to high school. Since the Taliban took power on August 15, 2021, she has been spending her days at home, inactive. On Wednesday morning, carefree and impatient, she donned the uniform she had worn under the previous Afghan regime: a long black blouse with a white veil over her hair tied in a ponytail.

► Also read: What future for women’s rights in Afghanistan?

« The high school was no longer like a school, it was more like a Koran school (religious school) “, she explains. The teacher tells them that they have to exchange their old uniform for a more covering outfit and wear a long one headscarf to cover her hair well. ” She then told us that raising their children is a priority for women and that once that task is complete they can think of a job. ‘ says the high school student.

A helpless teacher

At 9:30 a.m. local time, the unexpected happened. A teacher tells the students that they are not allowed to continue their education until further notice and must return home. “ The girls came out, we sat in front of the school gate and cried. We were so sad because our happiness only lasted two hours ‘ Diana says. ” We are all desperate and hopeless for the future “, she lets go.

Bibi Zainab Sadat also burst into tears. A teacher of Persian literature at a high school in Kabul for fifteen years, she admits that she was ashamed: “ I couldn’t say anything but cry. The Taliban have committed an unforgivable act by ringing the school bell, they have buried the hope of Afghan girls. »

The teacher admits to being helpless. “ I hate being a woman she let go. I wish girls weren’t born here. It’s better to kill them than let them grow up with such insults. I hope that no girl is born in this country. »

No explanation for her about-face

The Taliban gave no explanation for their about-face. The education ministry said only that the return to school for middle and high school girls has been postponed pending a plan in accordance with Islamic law, Afghan traditions and culture.

According to Heather Barr, associate director at Human Rights Watch, the Taliban have demonstrated: that they have neither the will nor the ability to make changes and that they hold to their deeply misogynistic core tenets ».

Since taking power on August 15, 2021, religious fundamentalists have consistently enacted rules and laws restricting women’s rights. After nearly barring them from political life, then from much of public service and secondary schools, the Taliban have banned women unaccompanied by a male relative from boarding the plane from this Sunday, March 27.

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