Restrictions on Afghan Female Students Since Islamic Emirate Takeover

Two years have passed since the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. But schools and universities have not yet been opened for girls.

During this period, students have called for the reopening of schools and universities. Global reactions and requests of Islamic countries to reopen schools and universities for girls were important issues in the education sector.

But the Islamic Emirate has said that this is not a permanent issue, and they are working on a plan in this regard.

Girls’ schools were supposed to be reopened on the third month of (Hamel) in the year 1401. But the current government announced that girls’ schools will remain closed until further notice, and after that, many female students returned home from school with tears in their eyes.

Restrictions were imposed on women’s education on the first day of the second year of the Islamic Emirate’s rule. At the beginning of the second year of the rule of the Islamic Emirate, girls above the sixth grade were prohibited from going to private schools. Then, a restriction was imposed on the selection of girls for the entrance exam to university.

While everyone was waiting for the reopening of schools; in another decree on the 29th (Sonbola) month of 1401, girls were prohibited from entering private and public universities.

“We are girls, and we hope to be a doctor in the future, but they didn’t allow us to get an education,” said Malika, a student.

Despite these restrictions and prohibitions, senior officials of the current government have repeated their previous promises about starting girls’ education.

“The Islamic Emirate is not against all modern sciences but supports those sciences that do not oppose Sharia, because we want an Afghanistan that stands on its own feet in the economic and political arena, for which engineers and doctors are needed,” said Mawlawi Abdul Kabir.

“The gates of schools should be opened without discrimination to all of Afghans, which is their right. There are differences here. In this province, if we go to a village, we see five people who are in favor of the school and two people who are against the school…” said Sher Mohammad Abas Stanikzai, political deputy of the Foreign Ministry.

 “A reasonable solution is being worked on for these issues. A big problem is that once an issue becomes a dispute, it takes some time for the dispute not to get bigger,” said Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting Interior Minister.

A delegation of scholars from the Islamic world who came to Afghanistan in the second year of the Islamic Emirate’s rule said that education is the right of all Muslims and Afghan girls should also be allowed to get an education.

“We raised the issue of education with high-ranking officials of the Islamic Emirate that we have met. In the meeting with the Minister of Higher Education, he promised us that all Afghans will not deny the right of education to men and women,” said the head of the delegation, Sheikh Mohammad Saghir.

The issue of girls’ education also caused global reactions. A large number of countries in the world called the issue the main cause of the gap between the world and Afghanistan.

“I think that the de facto authorities in Afghanistan should let girls go to school beyond grade six. They should let girls go to university. They should let women work for international NGOs, national NGOs, and for UN organizations. And they should let women participate in social life. If this happens, I can imagine that Afghanistan would be integrated into the international community again, and international donors would also rethink and probably reinforce engagement with Afghanistan,” said Markus Potzel, the UN deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

It has been more than 690 days that the gates of schools have been closed to girls above the sixth grade, and universities have also been closed to girls since the 29th of the (Sonbola) 1401. It is still not clear when the current government will open the gates of schools and universities to girls.

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