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Afghanistan: Towards a return of girls to school “in the coming days”?


According to US envoy to Afghanistan Thomas West, the United States expects the Taliban to reverse its decision to exclude girls from schools in Afghanistan.

As a reminder, the Taliban, in power in Afghanistan since August 2021, reversed their decision on Wednesday to allow girls to study in colleges and high schools, just hours after the reopening which had been announced for a long time. The move caused the United States to call off talks with the hardline Taliban due to the ban. “I was surprised by the turnaround last Wednesday (…) It is above all a violation of the trust of the Afghan people,” admitted the American official who remains optimistic about the situation despite everything: “I’m hopeful we’ll see them reverse that decision in the coming days.”

“Practical Problems”

For their part, the Taliban are trying somehow to explain their change of heart. According to Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, “Our policy is not against girls’ education.

There are some practical issues that have not been resolved before the scheduled deadline for the opening of girls’ schools on March 23. Despite these words, observers fear that the country’s new masters will again ban school for girls, as they did during their first reign, from 1996 to 2001.

Women already educated

For Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban at the age of 15 and is a longtime campaigner for girls’ education, it will be “much more difficult this time” for the Taliban to keep schools closed.

For her, the difference in 2022 is that “women have seen what it means to be educated”, after two decades in an Afghanistan at war and ruled by a government supported by the United States.