Deputy Minister calls education ‘vital’ for everyone

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Speaking at a gathering in Kabul on Tuesday, the deputy Minister of Education Sheikh Ahmad Shahidkhail said that access to education is essential for the development of society and that everyone, including “men, women, children and the elderly,” should have access to education.

He made the remarks at a gathering held by the Asia International Development Research and Study Center to evaluate the education and poverty in the country.

“Education is a vital need for humanity,” Shahidkhail said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education criticized the embezzlement that took place during the former government.

“This project was brought to the Ministry of Higher Education based on a decree of the former president but it was used for military purposes and this caused all the projects for infrastructure to be halted,” said Lutfullah Khairkhwah, deputy Minister of Higher Education.

The Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics, Mullah Abdulhaq Hamkar, said that around 20,000 drug addicts have been treated over the past nine months.

The Ministry of Education stressed the need for girls’ and boys’ access to education while the schools for girls’ students above grade six have yet to be reopened.

A group of Afghan women and activists continue their protests over restrictions against women, and have recently switched their way of protesting from taking to the streets to writing their demands on Kabul walls at night.

The women denounce the increased restrictions against them, and write their demands on walls, including slogans calling for girls’ right to education, women’s right to work, women’s choice of clothes and the inclusion of women in social and political life.

The women said they started writing on walls at night after some of their rallies on the streets in the daytime were met with violence from the Islamic Emirate forces. According to them, they want to continue calling for their rights by writing on walls, which also enables them to avoid facing any violence.

“Our protests were met with threats and violence, so we switched to murals to achieve our fundamental rights and will continue these protests,” Tamana Rezaie, a protester said.

“Murals are our new method of protesting for calling for our rights. Because our protests were often met by violence from the Taliban,” said Leda, another protester.

“Women’s rights in choosing their clothing style, work, and education are restricted. We will not stay silent and will raise our voice,” said Aziz Gul, a protester.

Meanwhile, women protesters and activists called on the Islamic Emirate to grant the women their rights and warned they will expand their protests in the provinces if their demands are not met.

“Today’s women are not the women of 20 years ago. Our new protest methods will expand in all the provinces, and we will use any possible means to raise our voice,” said Navida Khurasani, a women’s rights activist.

“We want our rights. We will not let them be rolled back and will continue our protests until we are given our rights,” Darya Neshat, a women rights activist said.

Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, meanwhile said they are working on mechanisms to provide education and work opportunities for women. “The Islamic Emirate has not created any obstacles in the way of women’s rights. We are working on a framework to provide good educational and work opportunities for the women,” he said.

In addition to writing on walls, protests in homes and wearing men’s clothing are other new methods being used by Afghan women.

“This was a topic of discussion during the extended troika that Tom West attended late last month in Tunxi, China, and we have been very clear that if this decision is not reversed and if it’s not reversed promptly, it will hold significant, serious implications for our ability to engage with the Taliban and the Taliban’s desire to have better relations not only with the United States but with the international community,” he explained.—Tolonews

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