The Taliban have said that Afghan girls and female teaching will be soon be allowed to return to secondary schools and higher education institutions.

Talking to international media, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs Qari Saeed Khosty said that the exact timing will be announced by the Ministry of Education.

Khosty said, “From my understanding and information, in a very short time all the universities and schools will be reopened and all the girls and women will return to school and their teaching jobs.”

Several international media reports said that Khosty’s comments indicated that it was imminent that girls in secondary schools and their female teachers would be returning very soon.

“Safe learning environment”

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, the group ordered teenage girls to stay home until a “safe learning environment” could be established. Boys from all grades and girls of only the primary age were allowed to return to school.

The latest announcement is set to alleviate the concerns that stemmed from the initial exclusion of older girls from continuing their education. During the Taliban’s first stint in power in the 1990s, women and girls were legally barred from education and employment.

Since the group’s rise to power, the international community has continued to press the Taliban to uphold their promises to safeguard the rights of girls and women. The right-wing group has hinted at allowing women to return to work in government offices while enacting gender segregation policies in the universities.

The group has also named an all-male cabinet, saying women could be included later. The global community remains concerned, nonetheless.

Guterres rues “broken” promises

Earlier this month, the United Nations Secretary-General the United Nations Antonio Guterres condemned the Taliban’s “broken” promises to Afghan women and girls. Guterres urged the group to fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

Guterres said, “Broken promises lead to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan. Women and girls need to be in the centre of attention.”

Qatar and Pakistan have also condemned the Taliban’s rollback of women’s rights. The criticism is significant since both countries have also called on the international community to engage with the Taliban. Qatar also hosts the Taliban’s political office and facilitated the 2020 Doha Agreement between the US and the Taliban.

Earlier last month, addressing a news conference, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said it “has been very disappointing to see some steps being taken backwards” by the Taliban.

Al Thani said Qatar can be seen as a model for how a Muslim society can be run. He said, “Our system is an Islamic system [but] we have women outnumbering men in workforces, in government and in higher education.”

Pakistan reprimands Taliban

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that although he doubted the Taliban would once again place an outright ban on girls’ education, the group should be reminded that Islam would never allow such a thing to happen again.

Talking to British media, Khan said, “The idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. It has nothing to do with religion.”

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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