January 14, 2011

Taliban softens position on girls’ education

by Jan Harris

When the Taliban governed Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, women were not allowed to work and schools did not accept girls.

Since the regime was toppled, the situation for women has improved with females accounting for 38% students and 30% of teachers at the present time.

However the Taliban has continued to attack hundreds of schools.

There is optimism that the situation could improve significantly, with the news that the Taliban has now withdrawn its opposition to education for girls.

Agreements are believed to have been reached across the country between the Taliban and village elders, allowing female teachers and girls to attend schools.

In an interview for the Times Education Supplement, Afghanistan’s education minister Farooq Wardak said that fundamental changes in attitude, behaviour and culture are taking place.

However, female Afghan MPs are claiming that girl’s schools in the country are still closed.

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