Photo: Save the Children

Germany Asks Taliban to Open Schools and Universities for Women 

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – As the new school year begins in Afghanistan, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks the Taliban to open schools and universities for all women and girls in the country.

In a social media post on Thursday, March 21, the German foreign ministry said that by denying girls access to education, the Taliban are depriving an entire generation of their future and hindering the progress of the country.

The Taliban initiated the new school year in Afghanistan on Tuesday, March 20. However, girls beyond the sixth grade were excluded, marking the third year of their ban on women and girls’ education in the country.

During the ceremony organized by the Taliban Ministry of Education in Kabul, the Taliban authorities emphasized on the importance of quality education and expanding educational opportunities to remote regions, there was a conspicuous silence on the topic of girls’ education and the reopening of secondary schools for girls.

Despite protests from citizens of Afghanistan inside the country, international pressure, and lobbying efforts by Muslim countries and organizations, the fundamentalist Taliban leaders remain unmoved to lift the ban. 

Meanwhile, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says that 1.4 million girls in Afghanistan continue to be denied their rights to education beyond the sixth grade due to the Taliban ban.

In a statement on Facebook today, March 21, UNESCO emphasized that excluding girls from school harms their well-being and hinders Afghanistan’s development.

“Yesterday marked the beginning of the academic year 1403 (2024), a beacon of hope as students across Afghanistan return to their classrooms to pursue knowledge and growth,” the UN agency said. “Yet, 1.4 million girls continue to be denied the right to education beyond grade 6,” it added.

Amnesty International has also condemned the Taliban’s ban on women and girls’ education as “unjustifiable” and a violation of fundamental human rights to education. The organization urged the regime in Afghanistan to permit girls of all ages to attend school and to cease using “cynical pretexts” to advance its discriminatory agenda.

Amnesty International also initiated a petition titled “Stop the roll back on human rights in Afghanistan” on social media, urging its followers to sign and hold the Taliban accountable.

“Human rights are under attack on all fronts. It must be stopped,” Amnesty International stated in its petition.

The organization says it asked girls in Afghanistan about their feelings regarding the ban on their education. According to the organization, the girls responded that their dreams are shattered, they have lost hope, they are scared, and they want the world to speak for them.