One of the biggest drawbacks facing Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover has been the inability of young girls and women to continue their education. Many countries have raised concerns over the decision and others have referred to it as an indication that the promises will not be kept.
As the weeks pass by, the new Taliban administration has yet to announce when, and if ever, they will allow girls to return to school. The Taliban have not allowed girls in secondary schools to return while boys have been granted the opportunity. Millions of girls who were aspiring to continue their studies and become successful now face an uncertain future.
The issue has gained importance as the world attempts to gauge whether the Taliban regime will give women and girls greater freedoms as promised than their dreaded rule in the 1990s. The Taliban desperately need humanitarian assistance and global recognition, hence this is a key test to improve their image. The Taliban maintain they are making it possible to provide girls the ground to receive an education but a lot needs to be done.
Qatar, who played a key role in negotiations with the Taliban, has also expressed disappointment over denying girls education, calling it a step backward. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan had recently said that preventing women from accessing education would be un-Islamic and the Taliban would have to respect human rights to gain acceptance. The literacy rate and girls’ education in Afghanistan, though still one of the lowest in the world, sharply increased in the past two decades. However, human rights activists from UNHCR chief to Malala Yousazai have raised concerns that the gains in the past 20 years are under threat and may be gradually erased.
Ever since the Taliban took control, they have been changing their narrative on issues such as the inclusive government, women rights, and girls education. And with every passing day, their practices prove that they would revert to their old ways. This has been rather disappointing for their allies and critics. It is a setback in efforts to gain legitimacy if they don’t accept basic rights. If the Taliban want to consolidate power, they would have to realize the simple fact and allow girls to study.