A year before college, the Taliban told her she couldn’t go to school.

Sajida Hussaini was upbeat as her first day of school under the Taliban approached. Her father, a 17-year teacher, and mother had instilled in her and her brothers the importance of education, and she was now one year away from graduating from high school.

Despite the fact that the Taliban took over the nation last summer, terminating many of the liberties she and other Afghan girls had enjoyed throughout their lives, the leadership stated on March 23 that it would reopen schools and allow females to attend.

When Sajida and her classmates arrived at the school’s front gate, authorities told them that females above the sixth grade were no longer permitted to attend classrooms. Many of the females began to cry. “That was a life-changing event for me,” Sajida said. “It was a cloudy day.”

Sajida was one of a million Afghan girls who were prepared to return to school after an eight-month break. With the Taliban out of power in the early decades of the twenty-first century, girls and women throughout the nation had earned new freedoms, which were abruptly rescinded when the hardline organization surged over Kabul in August. The Taliban suggested in their initial pronouncements to the world community that they would ease some of its laws that limit women’s rights, particularly the prohibition on education.

However, this has not been the case, and when the time came to reopen schools, Sajida and others learned that the Taliban meant to continue their long-standing prohibitions, erasing any hope that the government would demonstrate more ideological flexibility. in pursuit of international legitimacy In addition to continuing to prohibit girls from attending school, the Taliban has forced women to cover themselves from head to toe in public, and has prohibited them from working outside the house, travelling abroad without a male guardian, and engaging in rallies.

Taliban prohibitions have destroyed, or at the very least delayed, the hopes of a generation of females reared to aspire to the professional class.

Sajida, who was born into a middle-class Shia family, had always expected that she would go to university and one day make enough money to care for her parents when they retired.

“My parents reared me in dread and hope,” he said. They want to be able to enjoy the privileges that earlier generations of girls who grew up under Taliban control were denied; they worry that the nation would one day return to the authority of those “who do not think that females make up half of human society.”

He began school at the age of seven and quickly fell in love with reading, devouring any book he could get his hands on.

“I intended to study Persian literature in order to become a better writer and to think on the scars and misery of my community,” Sajida said.

Even after the Taliban was deposed, Sajida saw numerous of assaults by terrorist organisations on Kabul schools and intellectual institutions.

ISIS destroyed a Shiite girls’ school in May 2021, killing at least 90 students and injured 200 more.

Despite the threat of bloodshed, she continued to attend school and completed 11th grade last year, just before the Taliban captured Kabul and shattered her ambitions of graduating high school and attending university.

The unexpected turn of events has upset parents throughout the nation who have spent years and finances to safeguard their daughters’ professional chances.

Ibrahim Shah, who lives in the southeastern province of Ghazni, 150 kilometres west of Kabul, said he had put through years of heavy work to acquire enough money to send his children to school. Belqis, his 25-year-old daughter, graduated from university a year ago, only a few months before the Taliban seized power. She desired to be a government servant for her nation and a role model for the next generation of girls encouraged to dream big. She has no idea what she will do now. The Taliban’s return “was a horrible day for Afghan women and girls,” she remarked.

In reaction to Taliban practises, the United Nations Security Council convened a special meeting and urged “the Taliban to uphold the right to education and to keep to their pledges to reopen schools for all female students without further delay.” Convictions were also issued by the European Union and the United States.

“The Taliban authorities have repeatedly publicly guaranteed that all girls may attend to school,” Liz Throssell, a spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva, told BuzzFeed News. “We implore you to uphold this vow and quickly lift the prohibition, allowing girls of all ages throughout the nation to return to their schools in safety.”

In reaction to the prohibition, the World Bank stated in March that it would rethink funding $600 million for four Afghan projects to “address essential needs in the education, health, and agricultural sectors, as well as community livelihoods.”

In response to international criticism, the Taliban announced the formation of an eight-member panel to debate on their stance on girls’ schools. Sajida and four other girls who talked to BuzzFeed News were sceptical that the administration would let them return to school.

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