Underground girl schools in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

Underground girl schools in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

After the Taliban suspended female students from attending university all doors seemed closed. However, underground girl schools in five cities provide a small ray of hope.

These schools began in earnest last year – once the Taliban took power.

The Taliban supports the conservative Islamization of Afghanistan according to their interpretations of Sharia Islamic law. Thus, females are covered up from a young age -irrespective of choice – and are banned from studying openly and excluded from vast areas of society.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the United Nations, said, “It’s another very troubling move and it’s difficult to imagine how the country can develop, deal with all of the challenges that it has, without active participation of women and the education of women.”

The Taliban’s decision was welcomed by other Sunni Islamist groups – from Somalia to Iraq. However, it was condemned openly by Muslim-dominated nations all over the world.

Inside Afghanistan, even conservative clerics in places including Herat and Paktia have condemned the draconian measures of the Taliban.  

Voice of America reports, “The secret school in Kabul is part of a network of eight across five cities. The school is supported by SRAK, an Afghan organization that, according to its website, works in areas highly affected by the school ban.” 

All education in the underground schools is provided for free. Hence, members of SRAK subsidize the system.

The Minister of Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadim, defended the Taliban. Nadim said Islamic laws will be implemented “…even if they sanction us, use an atomic bomb on us, or even if they come back for another war.”

America, Gulf powers, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom all supported Sunni Islamists against Communist Najibullah in Afghanistan several decades ago – despite Najibullah introducing educational reforms for women along with other positive measures. Therefore, the usual nations supported various Sunni Islamic forces to topple Communism – and the rest is a bleak history of deterioration and females being put into the shadows.

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