The right of Afghan girls to an education is being ‘crushed’ – Amnesty

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FILED - The logo of the human rights organization Amnesty International is pictured in Berlin. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
FILED - The logo of the human rights organization Amnesty International is pictured in Berlin. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

An Amnesty International report on the situation in Afghanistan issued on Thursday has been highly critical of the Taliban’s policy of barring girls from attending secondary school.

The report, which is based on interviews with at least 33 teachers, students, and activists across Afghanistan, has documented the Taliban harassment and intimidation of women and girls who do attempt to continue their education.

“At present, girls in Afghanistan are effectively barred from returning to secondary school. Across the country, the rights and aspirations of an entire generation of girls are dismissed and crushed,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

After the fall of Kabul in August, the Taliban banned girls from attending school beyond the age of 12, though they did claim that secondary schooling for girls would resume once a so-called “safe learning environment” could be established. No indication has been given of when this might be, however, leaving many fearing that the ban may be permanent.

During the Taliban’s first spell in power between 1996 and 2001, women and girls were strictly forbidden access to education and even to work outside their homes.

According to the Amnesty report, the Taliban now routinely threatens teachers who were employed under the previous government and students learning English, the “language of infidels.”

The report called on the Taliban to put an end to its tactics of harassment, threats and violence, and to immediately reopen schools and universities to women and girls. The Taliban did not respond when asked about the report’s findings, Amnesty said.

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