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Afghan Girls Left in Educational Limbo As Taliban Enforces School Ban

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(CTN News) – In a grim turn of events, the dreams and aspirations of Afghan girls have been shattered as the Taliban enforces a strict ban on their education, pushing an entire generation into an uncertain future.

The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan in September 2021 set the stage for a resurgence of Taliban rule, marked by regressive policies that severely curtail the rights of women, particularly in the realm of education.

Taliban Education Ban Timeline:

The initial blow came in September 2021, when the Taliban announced that girls were prohibited from studying beyond the sixth grade. This restriction, met with global condemnation, was extended to universities in December 2022.

The international community warned the Taliban that such draconian measures would impede the country’s recognition and progress.

However, the Taliban remained unmoved, defying the warnings and persisting with their oppressive policies.

The Impact on Girls’ Education:

The plight of girls like Bahara Rustam, who recently took her last class at Bibi Razia School in Kabul, highlights the devastating consequences of the education ban.

Bahara, aware that this might be the end of her educational journey, is left to study at home, clinging to the hope that somehow her dreams will not be completely extinguished.

The absence of graduation ceremonies for girls further underscores the harsh reality they now face.

Setayesh Sahibzada, another 13-year-old in Kabul, expresses her despair at being deprived of the opportunity to pursue her dreams. Aspiring to become a teacher, Setayesh now finds herself unable to attend school and fears a future where she cannot stand on her own two feet.

The dreams and potential of countless Afghan girls are being stifled, leaving a generation in educational limbo.

International Concerns:

The international community, represented by U.N. special envoy Roza Otunbayeva, has expressed deep concern over the situation. Otunbayeva emphasizes that with each passing day, a generation of Afghan girls is falling further behind.

The Taliban’s decision not only jeopardizes the individual aspirations of these girls but also threatens the overall progress and prosperity of Afghanistan.

Uncertain Alternatives:

In an attempt to present a facade of inclusivity, an official from the Education Ministry claimed that Afghan girls could study in religious schools (madrassas).

However, there are doubts about whether these institutions offer a standardized curriculum that includes modern subjects, leaving the quality of education in question.

Analysts, such as Muhammad Saleem Paigir, warn that excluding women and girls from education will have disastrous consequences for Afghanistan.

Recognizing the fundamental link between literacy and freedom, Paigir stresses that an illiterate population cannot be truly free and prosperous.

As the Taliban continues to tighten its grip on Afghanistan, the dire situation of girls’ education paints a bleak picture for the country’s future.

The international community must unite in condemning these regressive policies and advocating for the rights of Afghan girls to receive an education.

The dreams and aspirations of Bahara, Setayesh, and countless others hang in the balance, and the world must not turn a blind eye to their plight.

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