Taliban Attempts to Save Face by Reopening Primary Schools for Girls as Aid Chief Visits Afghanistan

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: January 10, 2023, 10:30 IST

An Afghan girl reads a book inside her home in Kabul, Afghanistan (Image: Reuters)

Taliban leaders are aware of the economic distress that Afghanistan is currently witnessing and it needs aid to stop citizens from dying due to starvation and poor health

The Taliban this week tried to save its face by asking authorities to restart primary schools for women. According to a report by India Today which cited a tweet from Gawharshad Media, Taliban officials asked authorities to reopen primary schools for girls and said girls can attend schools by adhering to Islamic dressing code.

The directive by the Taliban is new wine being sold in an old bottle because it earlier allowed girls to attend primary schools but stopped girls from attending senior secondary and higher secondary schools and banned women from pursuing studies at university level.

The Taliban regime earlier said that it would allow primary schools, from grades I to VI, to run.

The directive also coincides with the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugees Council (NRC), Jan Egeland’s visit to Kabul. The Taliban officials have realised that they need international support and aid to prevent citizens from dying due to starvation and ill health.

Egeland on Monday made it clear that the NRC will not work without women workers. The Taliban has banned women from working in government and private offices and Egeland said they cannot and will not work without women in their NGOs in Afghanistan.

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“I am here in Afghanistan to meet Taliban leaders and try to find a way to get out of the current ban on our female workers, which is paralysing all our humanitarian work in Afghanistan,” Egeland was quoted as saying by Afghanistan-based TOLONews.

On Sunday, the UN deputy special envoy for Afghanistan, Markus Potzel, met the acting minister of higher education Neda Mohammad Nadim, who said that the Taliban has not decided on an absolute ban on women’s education and has postponed the issue for deliberations later.

“We ask the international community to never make a request from us that is in conflict with Sharia,” a spokesman from the ministry said.

Turkish scholar Mohammed Gormaz, who is also the president of the Institute of Islamic Thought, told TOLONews that the ban on women’s education has become a problem for the entire Islamic world.

“You may say that this is our internal issue and that nobody should speak out about it, but now it has become the problem of all Muslims,” Gormaz was quoted as saying by TOLONews.

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