A Year From College, The Taliban Banned Her From School

As she approached her first day of school under Taliban rule, Sajida Hussaini was filled with hope. Her father, a teacher for 17 years, and her mother had always emphasized the importance of education to her and her siblings. She was just one year away from graduating high school.

Even though the Taliban had taken control of the country the previous summer, putting an end to many of the rights that she and other Afghan girls had enjoyed, the regime had announced that schools would reopen on March 23 and girls would be permitted to attend.

However, when Sajida and her classmates arrived at the school, they were informed that girls beyond sixth grade were no longer allowed to enter the classrooms. This news devastated many of the girls, and Sajida described it as a dark day in her life.

Sajida was among the millions of girls in Afghanistan who had been preparing to return to school after an eight-month break. With the Taliban out of power in the early 2000s, girls and women across the country had experienced newfound freedoms. However, those freedoms were suddenly in question when the fundamentalist group took over Kabul in August. The Taliban initially signaled that they would relax some of their policies restricting women’s rights, including the ban on education. But when schools reopened, it became clear that the Taliban intended to maintain their strict rules, dashing any hopes of greater flexibility and international acceptance. In addition to the ban on girls’ education, the Taliban also imposed restrictions on women’s attire, employment, travel, and participation in protests.

For a generation of girls who had dreamed of pursuing professional careers, the Taliban’s restrictions have shattered those dreams, at least for the time being.

Sajida, a member of a middle-class Shiite family, had always assumed that she would complete a college education and support her parents in their old age. She had a passion for reading and had planned to study Persian literature and become a writer to shed light on her society’s struggles.

Despite the risks of violence, Sajida continued to attend school even after the Taliban regained control. She finished 11th grade last year before the Taliban seized Kabul, leaving her uncertain about completing high school and going to college.

This sudden turn of events has devastated parents across Afghanistan who had invested years and savings to secure their daughters’ futures and opportunities for success.

Amid the backlash against the Taliban’s policies, the UN Security Council held a special meeting and called on the Taliban to respect the right to education and reopen schools for all female students without delay. The European Union and the US also condemned the Taliban’s actions.

In response to the ban, the World Bank announced that it would reconsider $600 million in funding for projects in Afghanistan aimed at supporting urgent needs in education, health, agriculture, and community livelihoods.

Under international pressure, the Taliban announced the formation of an eight-member commission to discuss their policy on girls’ education. However, Sajida and other girls who spoke to BuzzFeed News expressed skepticism about the regime’s willingness to allow them to return to school.

What do you think?

Written by Western Reader

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