Taliban won’t allow girls to go to school past 6th grade, breaking promise to international community

Kendall Tietz, DCNF

Despite promises that schools would stay open for young girls in Afghanistan, the Taliban will not allow females to go to school past the sixth grade for the time being, according to a decision made late Tuesday night, Waheedullah Hashmi, external relations and donor representative with the Taliban-led administration told the Associated Press.

A Taliban official confirmed its decision not to reopen schools for females above sixth grade on Wednesday, the AP reported. In a statement Monday, the Taliban ministry said “all students” should plan to come to school, a move that the international community has been urging its leaders to allow.

The decision appears to be fueled by the rural, tribal members of the Taliban who are more reluctant to send girls to higher levels of schooling, the AP reported. In Kabul, private schools and universities have stayed open without interruptions and higher education institutions in other parts of the country have largely opened up.

Hashmi said the Taliban didn’t “say they [schools] will be closed forever.”

“The leadership hasn’t decided when or how they will allow girls to return to school,” he told the AP.

There have been reports of tension between two camps of the Taliban-led administration, the more hardline, rural leaders and pragmatists, who want to see more international engagement, the AP reported.

Mariam Naheebi, a local journalist who has protested for women’s rights, told the AP that the Taliban has “not been honest.”

“We did everything the Taliban asked in terms of Islamic dress and they promised that girls could go to school and now they have broken their promise,” she said.

In August, the U.S. government issued a joint-statement, which was co-signed by countries and unions such as the U.K., EU and Canada, in which they expressed their concern for women and girls amid the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996 and 2001, girls often didn’t go to school past the age of 10. In 2001, when U.S. troops came to the country and the Taliban lost control, women were able to go to school and work.

In September, the United Nations predicted around 95% of Afghanistan’s population would go hungry and 97% of the country was predicted to fall below the poverty line.

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