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  16 Oct 2021, 20:23

UN says Taliban to announce plans for girls' education 'soon' 

   UNITED NATIONS, United States, Oct 16, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The Taliban will 
announce a framework that allows girls to attend school in Afghanistan 
"soon," a senior United Nations official said, after four weeks in which 
Afghan boys have been allowed a secondary education but girls have not.

  "The de facto minister of education told us that they are working on a 
framework, which they will announce soon, that will allow all girls to go to 
secondary school, and we are expecting that to happen very soon," UNICEF 
deputy executive director Omar Abdi said at the United Nations in New York on 
Friday.

  For weeks now the Taliban have been saying that they will allow girls to 
return to school as soon as possible.

  The Islamist group, notorious for its brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 
to 2001, has faced international fury after effectively excluding women and 
girls from schools and work across the country, while incrementally stripping 
away Afghans' freedoms.

  The Taliban permitted girls to attend primary school from the start, but 
have maintained that neither the girls nor their female teachers could return 
to secondary school yet.

  Taliban officials have said that can happen only once the girls' security 
and strict gender segregation can be ensured under the group's restrictive 
interpretation of sharia law, adding that more time is needed to put this 
framework in place.

  Abdi noted that, as he spoke, "millions of girls of secondary school age 
are missing out on education for the 27th consecutive day."

  He said the UN has urged the Taliban authorities now governing Afghanistan 
"not to wait" on educating girls.

  Abdi said he had visited Afghanistan the week before and met with Taliban 
authorities.

  "In all my meetings, the education of girls was the first issue that I 
raised."

  He said he had received "affirmations" of the Taliban's commitments to 
allow girls to attend primary school.

  As for secondary school, he said they were allowed "only in five 
provinces," but added that the UN is pushing for the right to be implemented 
throughout the country.

  A 14-year-old girl identified as Asma this week expressed both her 
frustration with the situation and her determination to pursue an education.

  "Will I be able to go to school or not? This is my biggest concern. I want 
to learn everything, from the easiest to the hardest subjects. I want to be 
an astronaut, or an engineer or architect... This is my dream," she told 
Amnesty International.

  "Education is not a crime," she added. "If the Taliban announce that 
getting an education is a crime, then we will commit this crime. We will not 
give up." 
 

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