The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNICEF) has said it will set up a system that will facilitate the direct funding of teachers in war-torn Afghanistan without channeling the money to the country’s de facto authorities – of the Taliban. In an email to Reuters, the head of UNICEF’s Education in Afghanistan, Jeannette Vogelaar, said the UN agency would soon begin registering all teachers of public schools in the country.
Vogelaar pointed out that the “best way” to support girls’ education in Afghanistan is to “continue to support their schools and teachers.” “UNICEF calls on donors not to let the children of Afghanistan down,” she told Reuters.
Afghanistan has remained plunged into economic misery since several international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), seized loans. The United States has also stopped more than $ 9 billion in reserves at the country’s central bank. These decisions were made shortly after the Taliban took over Afghanistan after two decades on 15 August.
Although the Islamist militant group has called for international recognition of its interim government in Afghanistan, incidents of total repression and brutality during its previous regime in the 1990s have forced most countries to do so. Many leading world leaders, including US President Joe Biden – who came under heavy scrutiny following his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan earlier this year – have spoken out against the Taliban’s actions.
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Despite repeating that it will respect human rights, and allow girls and women to get an education and a job, the reality has apparently been much different. Shortly after the Taliban ousted former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani under the leadership of the government, women were not allowed to go to work and were even replaced by male colleagues.
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In September, the group announced the reopening of schools for grades six to 12 only for boys and male teachers, but did not mention when girls could return. The Taliban group Zabihullah Mujahid had said in the same month that they were “finalizing things” and that girls would return to schools soon. However, there has been no update on that so far.
Notably, schools for girls up to grades six and even university have remained functional.
This has in a way reinforced the fears and worries of the international community about the Islamists bringing back their harsh ideologies.
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Taliban’s director of external programs and aid at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, Waheedullah Hashimi, told Reuters there would soon be “good news” about the reopening of secondary schools for girls.
“We are working mainly with UNICEF and some other international organizations … to come up with a good solution … we have meetings on a daily basis,” he added.
Hashimi added that economic difficulties are a “problem” for the group in Afghanistan, and they ask the international community and organizations, “especially those who have funds for emergencies, to help us in this regard.”