A group of women activists under the name of ‘Kabul School of Critics’ staged a protest demanding the Taliban reopen schools for women without further delay, local media reported. The women protestors said that instead of addressing the status of the people who are in dire need of food, the Taliban is engaged in issuing warnings, killing people and taking revenge.
A member of KSC, Ramzia Saeedi said, “Afghan women and girls have been deprived of their basic rights in different periods,” adding that the closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade and the exclusion of women from society show that their rights have been dealt with politically. She stressed that the Taliban must not use the education of girls as a political abuse, an Afghanistani radio publication Salam Watandar reported.
“The continuation of this situation will put female students in a dark future and harm the development of society,” said another protestor Aaey Noor. She asked the Taliban to provide a convincing reason to restrict women’s rights in the state, including education and said that it should reopen schools for girls immediately if it fails to give a valid reason.
In Herat city, a group of girl artists has started a campaign against the Taliban’s restrictions on women. Demanding the Taliban government ease the restriction on women, they said that they will not allow the voices of women and girls to be silenced.
These artists depict the capabilities and challenges of women and girls in their paintings. A local media reported that an Afghan women social worker, Huda Khamosh, who is in exile in Norway said that the Taliban remain an illegitimate ruler.
“The statements of loyalty to the Taliban are not acceptable at any gathering without the presence of women. Despite thousands of Ulema announcing their support for their hardline government, the Taliban remain an illegitimate ruler,” she said. “After a three-day meeting, the Ulema pledged allegiance to the Taliban and its prominent leader. The meeting failed to address thorny issues such as the right of teenage girls to attend school,” she added.
This comes after the Taliban debarred women from attending the first-ever ‘Loya Jirga’ or grand assembly of religious scholars and elders. Around 3,500 religious scholars and elders from across the country were invited to attend the meeting at Loya Jirga.
The three-day-long gathering which opened on Thursday and concluded on Saturday was the first nationwide gathering of Islamic clerics held eleven months after the re-establishment of the Taliban in the country. Participants of the jirga were expected to discuss a series of issues including reopening schools for girls from grade 7th to grade 12th, the type of government, the national flag, and the national anthem, but the three days long Jirga concluded without hinting at reopening schools for girls above grade six and women’s right to work outside home.
Notably, the Taliban made tall promises of equality and inclusive society, during a press conference when they took over control of Afghanistan in August last year. But the plight of Afghan women has continued to be deplorable in the state.
Contrary to the Taliban’s claims, girls were stopped from going to school beyond sixth grade on March 23 and a decree against the women’s dress code was issued after a month. There are restrictions on movement, education and freedom of expression of women posing a threat to their survival.
Not only this, but the Taliban has prevented women from using smartphones, and the Women’s Affair Ministry often extort money for providing essential protection. The lack of female healthcare workers has prevented the women from accessing essential medical facilities, and the international donors, who fund 90 per cent of health clinics, are hesitant to send money because they fear the funds being misused.
Around 80 per cent of women working in the media have lost their jobs, and almost 18 million women in the country are struggling for health, education and social rights.