According to Afghanistan’s previous education minister before the Taliban took control of the country, there are a significant number of Taliban officials who would be in favor of lifting the restriction on girls attending school in Afghanistan.
During the time when the Taliban were in power, Afghanistan became the only country in the world in which it was prohibited for girls to continue their education after the age of 11. The group has also implemented what has been referred to as a “gender apartheid” policy, which prohibits women from working in the majority of jobs and from entering public locations.
However, Rangina Hamidi, who recently traveled to the country, stated that the international world may use the internal divisions that exist within the Taliban on the education of girls as a means to push with them to reopen schools for girls.
They are not a single entity, the Taliban. There are a variety of perspectives held by members of the Taliban, just as there are among members of any other group. As she put it, “It is clear that there are a significant number of Taliban members who are in favor of overturning the decree, particularly with regard to the issue of the prohibition on the education of girls.”
“This is a lived reality for nearly forty million Afghans, at least half of whom are women and girls,” she added. “This is the case regardless of whether or not the world recognizes the Taliban.” “And it pains me that even after two years, the international community has not figured out how to deal with the Taliban, at the expense of the people and girls of Afghanistan,” she said. “It is a tragedy.”
It wasn’t too long ago that the government of the United States of America, along with its friends and international organizations, was participating in political negotiations with the Taliban. If this is the case, then why does the same global society face difficulties in cooperating with the Taliban in the present day?
This includes the utilization of locations where girls are permitted, like as madrassas, which are religious schools, as an alternative means of education. Hamidi has recommended that Afghans who are discovering methods to work around Taliban bans should be supported in their efforts to create domestic solutions.
“Madrassas are synonymous with religious schooling only today, but historically these are spaces for learning,” she remarked, encouraging people to “look beyond semantics [for] indigenous opportunities for girls to continue their learning.” Madrassas are spaces for learning.
Despite the fact that there are communities in which both boys and girls are not attending school, the nation has not been able to invest enough money in schools. In spite of this, there is at least one mosque within a radius of two kilometers, as the country is predominantly Muslim. Mosques are also houses of study. Therefore, why is it that we are unable to make advantage of this area to assist our students in learning on a standardised curriculum? As she put it.
Hamidi’s opinions were met with a range of responses during a feminist gathering that took place in Istanbul this month. The event was organized by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (Ungei), and she was one of the speakers. A number of Afghan women who took part in the discussion expressed their opposition to any idea that would normalize relations with an organization that continues to violate the fundamental rights of women.
For example, Selma Acuner, a member of the Women’s Coalition in Turkey, which is a component of the Ungei feminist network, stated that “working with the Taliban, who intentionally suppress women’s rights and enforce their interpretation of radical fundamentalist ideologies through madrassas, presents a highly paradoxical situation.”
Acuner acknowledged that girls may have the opportunity to continue engaging in a learning space through the use of religious schools; however, he stated that “We cannot expect religious institutions to compensate for the lost access to formal secondary education… they do not match the broader educational scope and future opportunities that it provides.”
Prior to committing to such a strategy, Acuner stated that it was essential to gain an understanding of the experiences of women in Afghanistan and to inquire about their perspectives. She stated that if this were not the case, it would be equivalent to agreeing to a further regressive trend in women’s rights all over the world.