Afghanistan’s school year starts with more than 1 million girls barred from education


Afghanistan’s fundamentalist government, the Taliban, is back in power since 2021, bringing back strict rules similar to those from the 1990s.

In the new school year, many Afghan girls won’t be able to attend classes. The Taliban has said girls can only go to school up to the sixth grade, making Afghanistan the only country with official limits on girls’ education.

This rule affects over 1 million girls, and even before the Taliban, about 5 million girls were out of school due to various reasons.

The Taliban’s education ministry began the school year with an event that didn’t allow female journalists to attend, citing a lack of suitable space.

The education minister of the Taliban, Habibullah Agha, said they aim to improve both religious and modern education. He also advised students to dress modestly according to Islamic and Afghan customs.

The Taliban’s deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, claimed they’re working to improve education across remote areas. However, they seem to be focusing more on religious teachings in madrassas rather than basic education.

The Taliban had previously said girls’ education goes against their strict interpretation of Islamic law. They haven’t made any progress in fulfilling the conditions they set for allowing girls back to school.

Back in the 1990s, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they also banned girls from going to school.

Despite initially promising to be more moderate in their approach, the Taliban have continued to restrict women’s access to education, public spaces, and jobs.

Their ban on girls’ education is a major barrier to gaining international recognition as Afghanistan’s legitimate government.

Although boys can still go to school, human rights groups like Human Rights Watch criticize the Taliban for their harmful educational policies affecting both boys and girls.

In a report released in December, Human Rights Watch highlighted how these policies have led to fewer qualified teachers, decreased attendance, and harsh disciplinary measures, affecting the education of boys as well.


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