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'They want to cheat women': Afghans feel betrayed as Taliban continues to ban girls attending secondary school

After three days of speeches and talks by Taliban leaders and Islamic Scholars at Kabul’s Grand Council meeting, there was a feeling of betrayal and deflation.

To the dismay of many, the summation of the resolutions made by clerics at this gathering did not include any announcements about girls education or the possibility of allowing them back to full-time school.

After trailing the announcement that an announcement was coming, the Taliban did not decide to allow secondary school girls to attend after having banned them last year when they took power.

This was an unpopular decision that caused a lot of controversy within the organisation, the international community and human rights campaigners.

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Many Afghan leaders believe that it is against Islam to prohibit girls from obtaining education. They have appealed to the Taliban leadership to reverse their decision.

Elaha and Elhama, Elaha’s sister, should be at secondary school to study for critical exams. But the Taliban U-turn means that they are now learning from one another in their bedrooms instead of in a classroom.

Sky News’ Elaha, 16, said that she recalled the moment when the Taliban prevented her from going to school. It was a terrible moment, and a sad moment. We need education for the future.

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“I will have to tell people that I was unable to go to school because I was denied by the Taliban.

She responded to the announcement of the grand council meeting by saying: “I don’t trust them, and I can’t trust them because their promises to the people are broken.”

They said that women would work in every ministry, but this is not true. They claimed that every girl could go to school. But, I don’t believe them.

Image Elaha and Elhama (L).

How do you get primary school girls to understand? Sixth graders at a Kabul school are so scared that they won’t go to class next year, it is a sad and frightening scene. Teachers are also affected by this policy.

Fatima Amid recently completed her university degree and is now a teacher at District 3 School. She has to tell her female students that they cannot return to high school.

She tells us that “we are not the same women as 20 years ago.” “The Taliban want all women to be calm by saying that they will open schools today, tomorrow or one month later – but nothing ever happens at the end. They want to cheat all Afghan women.”

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Fatima said to Sky News that the Taliban government is’really sad and’really shameful.

International community will feel the same.

The UK and the US are depending on the Taliban government for their overturning of their decision in order to improve diplomatic relations and bilateral discussions.

Afghanistan was isolated last year when it decided to ban girls from school. Assets worth billions of dollars were frozen so that the international response to the earthquake in Paktika last week was limited.

Image: Fatima Amid

Eyewitness “My home is a graveyard now” – The aftermath of Afghanistan’s devastating earthquake

Officials from the Taliban saw it as a wake-up call, as they watched their country struggle after a major natural catastrophe.

We heard from women on the streets in Kabul that they were sad, disappointed and angry at the lack of information about girls education during the three day meeting.

One student said that it was very painful. “They don’t understand our rights.”

Another woman said, “I saw the Taliban twenty years ago. There’s no difference this year, in fact, they are worse.”

They were determined to keep their promise, the Taliban.

Sky News’ Deputy spokesperson Bilal Karimi said: “Right now, there are millions of girls and boys going to schools and universities. The school doors aren’t closed. This meeting was decided by Islamic clerics, not the Taliban government. This policy is still being reviewed.”

Millions of Afghan girls and women are again at the center of today’s political decisions – their hope is short.

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