Families leave Afghanistan in pursuit of daughters' education

By Ehsanullah

Afghan schoolgirls walk through the rain along a road in Paghman district on the outskirts of Kabul on March 30. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Afghan schoolgirls walk through the rain along a road in Paghman district on the outskirts of Kabul on March 30. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL – Many Afghan families with school-age children have abandoned their homeland or are considering doing so in order to obtain an education for their daughters while girls' schools in Afghanistan remain closed.

Some families told Salaam Times they left the country despite the challenges of immigration, while others said they are trying to leave as soon as possible.

Kabul native Ahmad Shah Sakhi Zada, who now lives in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, said he left Afghanistan "for the future of my daughters, so they can continue their education".

Sakhi Zada told Salaam Times he had high hopes that his daughters, who are now in the seventh and ninth grades, could eventually qualify for professional careers in the medical or financial fields.

"But they were confined at home" after August 2021, he said. "Now that girls' schools are closed in Afghanistan, I had to immigrate to Pakistan."

"I sold my house, car and all my belongings in Afghanistan at a low price to cover the very high costs of immigration," he said. "This is very painful."

Kabul resident Shakib Mansuri, who has three daughters, told Salaam Times he has decided to leave Afghanistan for their sake.

"We were hopeful that girls' schools would open at the start of the current year and that my daughter could attend," he said. "However, we now have lost all hope."

Mansuri said his three daughters were in the 8th, 10th and 11th grades before August 2021 but no longer may attend school.

"Everyone is educated in my family, and we all recognise the value and importance of education," he said. This is why we have decided to leave the country and go somewhere that my daughters may study."

Kabul resident Freshta Yaqoubi also has decided to leave Afghanistan for her daughters' future, she told Salaam Times.

"My daughter was in the 12th grade and would have gone to university, and my other daughter was in 10th grade and should have finished high school by now," Yaqoubi said. "However, they could not continue their education."

Out of concern for their mental health and well-being -- both are deeply affected by their inability to continue school -- Yaqoubi sold her house for 1.2 million AFN ($13,900) to cover the cost of immigrating to a Western country.

"We are leaving the country out of necessity, and it is not an easy decision," she said.

Irreparable damage

Prohibiting girls from continuing their education will deprive future generations of basic literacy and other skills, which will have wider repercussions on society, Kabul-based civil society activist Rahimullah Mirzaei told Salaam Times.

"Depriving girls of education means that in a few years, we will not have female professors, female doctors or nurses, or women in other fields," he said.

"This will become a big challenge for society."

"We have seen that a large number of Afghans have left the country in the past year and a half because of the closure of girls' schools," Mirzaei said, noting that many have faced hardships and even death as they attempted to immigrate.

"Women make up half of Afghan society," Türkiye-based university lecturer Fahim Chakari told Salaam Times. "The ban on girls' education causes irreversible damage to the country's economy and social condition."

The outflow of families who are leaving Afghanistan so their daughters may attend school is "not good for the country's education system", Chakari said.

"A continued ban on girls' schooling would be a great setback for our society" and would have serious social implications in the long run, he added.

The current state of affairs in Afghanistan is "disappointing", said Canada-based human rights defender Dima Heram, who has been trying to improve girls' access to education in Afghanistan for several years.

"Many Afghan families have left the country for the future of their daughters and because they do not want their daughters and female relatives to live in fear and uncertainty," she told Salaam Times.

"It seems that the global community has forgotten the misery and suffering of 20 million Afghan girls and women over the past year," she said, adding that it is "humiliating" that women have to beg for their basic rights in the 21st century.

Arwain online school principal Sayed Bashir Tariq expressed great concern about the closure of girls' schools, saying he had no adequate words to describe his feelings about the situation.

"Nearly half of Afghan society is made up of women, and the absence of girls above grade six [from schools] will force several generations to remain illiterate and stay away from education," Tariq said.

"It will be a great setback for our society."

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Those families with the opportunity and can afford to leave the country; should leave Afghanistan and think about their children's future. Taliban are enemies of knowledge. Every day they impose restrictions on the activities that take place in the field of education. Matiullah, who was spreading education, has not been released yet. Recently, the Taliban has banned educational activities funded by international aid agencies in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. Afghanistan's Ministry of Education, which operates under the umbrella of the Taliban, said in a letter that it has "observations" on these educational activities. However, these unfortunate and pro-dark groups have not given details about the alleged observations in their letter and what kind of concerns they have. At the same time, I read some media reports that with this ban, about 700 girls and boys will be deprived of education in 680 rural classes. These children, who were given first to fourth-grade education in the rural areas and had a bright future in their families, will return to the dark side and choose to live in darkness. Their bans provoked not only this comment but also strong reactions from the entire Afghan people; however, this problem cannot be solved by talking with this barbaric group (Taliban), and there is no one to solve it by force.


From the era of Amanullah Khan until now, none of the kings of Afghanistan has lived in Afghanistan until the end of his life. Likewise, their children have not lived in Afghanistan. None of the ministers and presidents and none of their family members have lived in Afghanistan after their authority ended. This makes it clear that the kings of Afghanistan and the nobles never had the idea to build Afghanistan. They were only thinking about when their authority would end and they would run away from Afghanistan with their families and close relatives. Over the years, the governments of Afghanistan have sent every civil servant abroad for the purpose of upgrading their educational level, but they did not return to Afghanistan. Those who saw foreign countries are never happy to live in Afghanistan, because it has not made the people of Afghanistan aware of their own future. They just looted the property of this land and went outside of Afghanistan, and they no longer hope to live in Afghanistan because they did not expect to live in Afghanistan. In this sense, it has not made Afghanistan a safe place to the future generation. Currently, the poor people are wandering behind education, and behind a piece of bread. The kings of Afghanistan have spent on luxury during their reign, they have not served Afghanistan in a way as future generation of Afghanistan can live happily. All the people of Afghanistan are trying to escape from Afghanistan. Does someone who has prepared a safe plac


What is the fault of the family? It is the oppression of time that their children are deprived of the blessing of education. If the situation continues like this, the upcoming generation of this country will remain illiterate.


Banning girls from education is a big blow to the future of the society. In the 21st century, this action of the ruling group is a hated action and is full of irrationality.


Banning girls from education is a big blow to the society. If the government of the current system continues, it is not far from the truth that in the next few years there will be no female doctor and no female teacher. Because the hopes and dreams that the Afghan people had for the opening of girls' schools above the sixth grade were destroyed.


I agree with you. The ruling system must overcome this contradiction and open the closed doors of light for the girls. Otherwise, five years later, there will be shortage of female teachers and doctors in the country, which is a great loss and fear! It is regrettable and sad that the ruling system has done what Genghis did hundreds of years ago, and now it is committed by Taliban government and they are still standing!


It is a peek of misfortune for Afghanistan as Afghans go to other countries to educate their children. Pakistan is the enemy of Afghanistan, but unfortunately, Afghans were forced to go to the enemy's house to educate their children due to their incompetent and despicable leaders. The beasts ruling Afghanistan do not understand that society needs educated women and men. We want the leaders of the Taliban to provide an opportunity for girls' education in Afghanistan as soon as possible. If this does not work, the people should rise against these barbarians.


The closure of schools by the Taliban can only have one justification. This group is afraid of women's development and education, and therefore, due to their dark thoughts, they cannot understand that they are not part of society. If women are removed, they will also be removed. Such decisions are due to a poor understanding of the religion. Getting an education and higher education is a shari'a and Muslim right of women, and the Taliban should learn from the past. They should not question their little knowledge of religion because of such decisions because knowledge and education should be obtained even if it is in the most distant place in the world. Education is the only way to save someone from ignorance, poverty, and irreligiousness. Depriving girls and women of education will increase people's hatred towards the Taliban group, stop international aid in various fields, make the young generation and talents flee, and avoid domestic and foreign investment. Also, it will prevent economic, political, social, and cultural growth. In fact, where will those groups who have experienced nothing but violence and extermination, gun control and violence, and have spent years with guns in the mountains and deserts, are unfamiliar with pen and paper, will know the value of education and higher education and at least have a little and correct knowledge about the religion?


Today's girls and women are so honored and courageous that they stand firm in their determination to get the right to education and higher education to get their fundamental rights and fight to get them. Therefore, no ignorant people like the Taliban can prevent these brave girls and women from getting an education. They do not give up education and higher education in any possible way. The Taliban are practically trying to remove women from all political, social, cultural, and economic fields. They want to marginalize women and destroy their identity by preventing education. This kind of oppression of the Taliban and politics will not continue because the presence of women in all parts of a country is necessary. Women make up half of society; if half of the society does not have mobility and is paralyzed or disappears, society goes towards decline and extinction. We have all witnessed that no authority or authoritarian government has lasted long in history, but all have disappeared. Authoritarian governments cannot continue with tyranny, gun violence, dark thoughts, extremist beliefs, and violent behavior.


Similarly, women in the era of the beginning of Islam not only enjoyed the right to education but also had the right to participate in spreading education among women and men. If a woman does not study and does not have knowledge of order, Sharia, and law, she cannot perform her responsibilities well in society and the family. It is the women who, along with the male members of the family, determine the future and destiny of a family, community, and country by providing the best education and intelligent children in society. Therefore, women's education is of special value, and we should not be indifferent about it but think about it seriously. By closing schools and universities, the Taliban want to bring women and girls under their control from a spiritual and psychological point of view. They are not committed to any promises, standards, and charters of the world or religious principles and orders. They understand religion and law only to the extent that women should not have a presence or role in society because this group wants to dominate women like before.


It has been a year and seven and a half months since the doors of schools were closed to girls in Afghanistan, and till now, the Taliban and the backward groups have not decided to reopen the schools and the future of thousands of girls and women, and they have started playing with their fate. On the other hand, the Taliban have not been able to find hadiths and verses about the duty of knowledge on women and men in Islam. There is a difference between a scholar's open eyes and an ignorant person's closed eyes. God has created man free, and every man has rights. When we talk about women's rights, it includes all the rights and privileges that a person enjoys as a human being. Islam has given great importance to education. Learning and acquiring knowledge is one of the commandments in which men and women have a common share. Islam never considers gender an obstacle in gaining knowledge because learning is called light, and ignorance is considered darkness and hindrance. Attainment of education is not only related to men and special groups. Women, like men, also have this right; like men, they can study in any field they have the talent for, and there is no legal or shari'a obstacle in the way of getting an education. Women are equal to men in all religious orders and social rights. Women are also independent in all areas and matters where men have independence, such as the right to inheritance, business, education and training, defense of ownership, etc.