It is one of the well-known sayings almost in all societies; the more educated you are, the better off you are. The basic idea is that, it is necessary and vital for a society to be educated in order to be successful and happy in this life. However, in the case of Afghanistan it is somehow different, and not everyone has the opportunity to acquire education. For example, World Factbook reports that the population of Afghanistan is 31,822,848, by 2014 and the percentage of young literate female was 12.6 by 2000. On the contrary, the percentage of young literate male in the same year was 43.1. The reason behind this low level of literacy in Afghan Youth female is simply the consistent war and unresolved internal conflicts that the country is going through.
The long and consistent war over the history of Afghanistan has left a deep wound in the heart of Afghan people, especially on the young Afghan female. It has imprisoned millions in their houses and provided no safe opportunity for them to attain good education. Approximately 20 years ago, Afghanistan was invaded by Taliban fundamentalist group. The first policy they applied after their take over was the restriction of movement for girls. Young Afghan female were not allowed to go out of their premises alone. In 1996, access to education was limited to Madrasas and mosques, which mainly focused on religious education. Under the Taliban, schools and universities including some mosques were set on fire as in Takhar province, for promoting western values which conflicted the doctrine of the Taliban regime.
However, the situation is said to have improved after 9/11 events. With the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan after 9/11 and the United Nations efforts in peacekeeping, the number of girls who were going to school increased gradually. Nonetheless, Taliban’s subjective view of education for the girl child did not really change over the years. Helmand’s deputy minister of education, Mamoud Mohammed Wali, said extremists had forced 75 of the 228 public schools in the province to close down and burnt down at least eight in the past year (washingtontimes, 2009).
Burning down schools or threatening young Afghan females were not the only means used to stop girls from going to school. Alternatively, Taliban is reported to have used more brutal means like maiming young primary school girls with acid. For example, in 2008, two men on motorcycles attacked 15 girls and teachers with acid, and left serious injury on their faces. (foxnews, 2008). Recent reports show that they went as far as poisoning girls water in their schools in an attempt to discourage young girls from going to school.
However, despite all the threats from the Taliban, Afghan youth female are still brave enough to continue their education today. They have above all, the hope for a brighter future. Through hard work and determination, they believe they will one day wake up to a day where they would walk to school without any fear and it is their thirst for education that keeps them strong and focused despite the threats and challenges.
“Taliban Blamed for Acid Attack on Afghan Schoolgirls.” Http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/11/14/taliban-blamed-for-acid-attack-on-afghan-schoolgirls/, 1 Jan. 2008. Web.
“Taliban Kill Afghan Students, Burn Schools.” Http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/28/taliban-takes-battle-to-schools/?page=all, 1 Jan. 2008. Web.
Zabiyullah Kokcha, ICYF-DC Delegate