Taliban official requests for schools to be reopened for girls – Nexus News

A senior member of the Taliban-run government in Afghanistan has requested the country’s new rulers to reopen schools for girls above the sixth year, saying there is no valid reason in Islam for the restrictions.

The appeal from Taliban Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai on Tuesday came during a Taliban meeting in Kabul. It was a rare moderate voice despite the strict measures enforced by the Taliban since they overran the country and seized power in August 2021.

Since returning to power, the Taliban has closed down girls’ secondary schools across the country, directing women to wear hijabs in the workplace and to cover their faces in public, and has prohibited women from traveling long distances without a close male relative.

The Taliban have disclosed that they are working on a plan to open secondary schools for girls but have not given a timeframe.

The United Nations has tagged the ban “shameful” and the international community has been wary of officially accepting the Taliban, fearing a return to the same harsh rule the Taliban imposed when they were last in power in the late 1990s.

“It is very important that education must be provided to all, without any discrimination,” Stanikzai said. “Women must get an education, there is no Islamic prohibition for girls’ education.”

“Let’s not provide opportunities for others to create a gap between the government and people,” he added. “If there are technical issues, that needs to be resolved, and schools for girls must be opened.”

Stanikzai was once head of the Taliban team in discussions that led to the 2020 agreement in Qatar between the Taliban and the United States that included the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

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His comments followed the Taliban appointment of a new education minister, days after the UN called on them to reopen schools for girls. The UN has revealed that more than one million girls have been prohibited from attending most middle schools and high schools during the past year.

The restrictions targets female students in years seven to 12, primarily affecting girls aged 12 to 18.

The prohibition has drawn international condemnation and sanctions.

The Taliban has backed its decision, saying such prohibitions have been done to preserve “national interest” and women’s “honor”.

A year after the Taliban took over the country as the Western-backed government and military crumbled, the UN has disclosed that it is increasingly concerned that restrictions on girls’ education, as well as other measures curtailing basic freedoms, would worsen Afghanistan’s economic crisis and result to greater insecurity, poverty, and isolation.

The country has been suffering from a humanitarian crisis with over half of the population facing hunger, amid Western-imposed sanctions, as well as the freezing of humanitarian aid and almost $10bn in Afghan central bank assets.

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