Afghanistan's new school year has begun, but women and girls will not be in the classroom. They have been deprived of educational opportunities since the Taliban regained power in August 2021, leaving many female students with a strong desire to get back to class.
School resumed in many parts of the country on Tuesday. The Taliban had initially allowed women to enroll in universities, but later reversed course. They have also banned girls from secondary schools. Sources say there are calls from within the Taliban to reopen schools to women and girls. But there is no sign of a policy change so far.
One 13-year-old girl in Kabul who worries about her future said: "I want to request the Taliban to reopen schools and courses for girls, and let us study like boys. I also want to ask the international community to help us get the schools opened to us."
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan estimates that over a million girls will be barred from classes in the new school year. It calls for an end to all discriminatory policies against women and girls.