SHIBERGHAN (Pajhwok): Taliban militants have stopped about 20, 000 girl students in northern Jawzjan province from studying beyond sixth grade, officials claim. In the Darzab district of the province, the education director said, the insurgents had closed at least four seminaries, barring teachers from imparting religious education to students.
Education Director Abdul Rahim Salari told Pajhwok Afghan News: “In Qush Tepa, Daezab and other districts under their control, the Taliban have banned girl students beyond 6th class from going to schools.” As a result of the Taliban-imposed restriction, the official regretted, more than 20,000 girls in the province had been deprived of their right to education.
In an effort to find an amicable solution to the problem, he said, the authorities had shared the issue with Taliban leaders through tribal elders. However, no positive outcome has been achieved yet. Salari explained the problem was affecting girl students in Qush Tepa, Darzab, Mongjak, Murdyan and Faizabad districts.
“If the issue is allowed to linger on, the future of girls and education in the province will suffer a major setback,” the director warned, emphasising on an early solution. A number of girl students, meanwhile, condemned the Taliban’s action. Concerned at the situation, they asked the militants not to curb their access to school. One of them, Kainat Haideri, remarked: “Education in itself is jihad, which is our obligation. This jihad has beem emphasised in the Holy Quran. We recognise ourselves through education. Without recognizing ourselves and the world at large, we cannot become perfect Muslims.”
Some people, she said, believed that girls lost their faith and humanity by going to schools. The fact, according to her, is the duty of every man and woman. Another student, Bahari Danish, commented: “We will betray our cause by complying with Taliban’s orders stopping gir;s from going to school.”
She added the Afghan society no longer supported such regressive actions. “Living in an era of technology, we should move forward, not back.” A teacher, requesting not to be named, said: “The teachers coming to Shiberghan from Darzab and Qush Tepa have to seek permission from local Taliban commanders.” No one could summon the courage to speak up against the practice, he said, adding that teachers in the two districts had been faced with this situation for the past 10 years.
According to him, there are 25 schools in Qwsh Tepa and 40 in Darzab. But teachers and other officials could not speak about the school situation without permission from Taliban leaders. He added they had shared the issue with higher-ups several times, but their complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
However, the education director said: “We have shared all our problems with competent authorities. Our efforts for sorting out the problems are ongoing.” In response to Pajhwok’s queries via email and WhatsApp, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid repeatedly denied the rebel movement had placed any restrictions on girl students or teachers in Jawzjan. The claims were being investigated to ascertain facts, he said, promising to share the findings with Pajhwok. More than 400 schools, 40 percent of them for girls, are functional across the province. About 200,000 students are enrolled in these schools.