Daikundi residents urge for reopening girls schools

Locals in Daikundi call on Taliban to reopen schools for girls

With the new academic year underway, residents in the central province of Daikundi are calling on the Taliban to allow girls to go to school. They argue that acquisition of knowledge is mandatory for both boys and girls in Islam, and denying half the population access to education goes against religious values.

Lal, a resident of Nili, the capital of Daikundi, said that the country won’t make progress or develop if women and girls are denied their rights to education and work. “If the Taliban intend to govern [the country], it should reopen educational centers for girls. Otherwise, it will enlarge the gap between the people and the Taliban government,” he warned.

Though largely remained underserved and underdeveloped during the 20 years of Republic reign, Daikundi was a leading province in promoting equal educational opportunities for both male and female students during the period.

Some school girls accused the Taliban of misogyny for the group’s policy of banning education for women and girls.

Fatima Merzayee, a school girl, complained that the girls have been denied access to secondary education for nearly three years, firstly due to the COVID-19 restriction and then for the Taliban’s restrictions. This continued confinement to homes, she added, has impacted the girl’s mental health and most of them are now suffering depression.

Darya, another school girl, said that the Taliban’s bans on women’s education has caused an increase in domestic violence and poverty among the families.

“Some families have forced their daughters to early marriages for the bad economic condition,” she said, calling on the Taliban to reopen schools and universities for girls.

At the schools opening ceremony, local Taliban authorities only reiterated on their plans to work on promoting a religious mindset for school students.

 “Schools for girls above the 6th grade will continue to remain shut until further notice,” said Rahmatullah Mudassir, the Taliban’s education director in Daikundi, at the ceremony.

Secondary schools for girls have remained closed ever since the Taliban returned to power on 15 August 2021. In December 2022, the group also banned university education for women.