Taliban Breaks Promise To Reopen School For Girls

Girls in Afghanistan set to return to school this week were abruptly sent home as the Taliban breaks their promise.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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While the United States government fights political agendas through education legislation, other nations have much larger issues involving education. In Afghanistan, female students were set to finally return to classrooms this Wednesday, the first day of the country’s school year. But as many girls showed up at their schools Wednesday morning, they were told to return home. Unexpectedly, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers decided at the last second against reopening schools to girls above sixth grade as they broke a promise to allow the female students to return to classes.

In the brash move that will likely further alienate the Afghanistan community, the Taliban reportedly made the decision late Tuesday night. Waheedullah Hashmi, external relations and donor representative with the Taliban-led administration told The Associated Press, “We don’t say they will be closed forever.” However, the world-breaking news reports that the Taliban abruptly backtracked on a previously made promise to allow the girls in grade six and over to return to classrooms.

After the Taliban was ejected from leadership in 2001 by the United States, they were given back power last year after America’s departure from Afghanistan. After reclaiming control, the Taliban swiftly made changes that largely affected women’s rights. Girls were no longer allowed to attend school after sixth grade, and women were largely restricted from working in jobs outside of teaching or health care. 

Yet in the past year, the Taliban has made strides to improve the humanitarian crisis over the year as they attempt to shift into a governing body. Women are no longer required to wear the all-encompassing burqa. They have also eased some regulations on where women can work, as more women return to work not only in education in healthcare but jobs like passport control and customs at airports. Things seemed to be improving, as the ministry spokesman Mawlvi Aziz Ahmad Rayan confirmed to the AP this Tuesday that girls would be allowed back in schools on Wednesday. But it seems conflict within the Taliban party has caused disarray. And a pushback from rural areas might be the cause.

The decision to delay the return to school seems to have come from Afghanistan’s rural communities, where tribal backbone hard-line Taliban beliefs are deep-rooted. It is being assumed that there may be clashing beliefs on Governance as pushback continues. Similarly, the continuation of reports saying Senior Taliban leadership has had differentiating views on how the country should operate moving forward may be to blame. One anonymous member of the leadership council told AP that there might be some Cabinet shakeup coming soon to the nation.

There is still no word on when the girls will be allowed to return to school. The shocking decision will likely further disrupt the Taliban’s efforts to win over global recognition from international donors as the country spars over human rights. In 1948, the United Nations adopted fundamental human rights for everyone. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every human being is entitled to receive an education. The Taliban’s actions have only further segregated Afghanistan from the rest of the world, as people around the world wait to see what happens next.