Depriving girls of education raises risk of extremism, conflict in Afghanistan

By Omar

Hazara schoolgirl Sabrina Alizadah, who was wounded in a suicide bombing at an education center in Kabul, poses at her home in Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood on October 3, 2022. The September 30, 2022, attack killed 53 people, including 46 girls and young women, and wounded more than 110 others. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Hazara schoolgirl Sabrina Alizadah, who was wounded in a suicide bombing at an education center in Kabul, poses at her home in Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood on October 3, 2022. The September 30, 2022, attack killed 53 people, including 46 girls and young women, and wounded more than 110 others. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

HERAT -- More than two years after the authorities ordered schools and universities to close their doors to girls and women, rights activists warn of the long-term consequences to Afghanistan.

Withholding education from girls and women can lead to continued severe economic problems and an escalation of insecurity and conflicts in the country, they say.

Terrorist groups, including the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" Khorasan branch (ISIS-K), could also exploit this situation to expand their presence in Afghanistan, given the lack of literacy among future generations.

"Illiterate mothers cannot raise their children in a manner that benefits society," said Sadiqa Rahmati, a women's rights activist in Herat province.

Afghan girls work at a brick kiln in Surkh Rod district, Nangarhar province, June 13. Unable to go to school, many Afghan girls are forced to work or to marry young. Uneducated women raise uneducated children, repeating the cycle and increasing the risk of violence and extremism in society, activists warn. [Shafiullah Kakar/AFP]

Afghan girls work at a brick kiln in Surkh Rod district, Nangarhar province, June 13. Unable to go to school, many Afghan girls are forced to work or to marry young. Uneducated women raise uneducated children, repeating the cycle and increasing the risk of violence and extremism in society, activists warn. [Shafiullah Kakar/AFP]

Afghan girls attend class at a primary school in Bati Kot district, Nangarhar province, September 18. [Shafiullah Kakar/AFP]

Afghan girls attend class at a primary school in Bati Kot district, Nangarhar province, September 18. [Shafiullah Kakar/AFP]

"Consequently, a significant number of their sons may grow up illiterate and become vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist and extremist groups," she said.

"Most members of terrorist groups such as ISIS grew up in illiterate and poor families and joined these groups unknowingly," she said.

"On the other hand, educated mothers who raise their children in a proper manner will never be willing to engage in extremism and terrorist activities."

If educational institutions do not swiftly open their doors to women and girls, this situation could result in significant long-term problems and potentially escalate conflicts in the country, Rahmati warned.

Nazifa Karimi, 17, was an 11th grade student in Herat two years ago when she was forced to abandon her studies.

With the continued closure of her school, her family arranged for her to marry her cousin three months ago.

"I was never happy with this marriage, and I wanted to study and contribute to the building of Afghanistan," she said. "With the closure of the schools, all my dreams were shattered, and if the schools reopen, my husband will not allow me to study."

"I wanted to attend university after high school, become an educated woman, raise my children properly and contribute to their education," Karimi added. "Unfortunately, my dreams were shattered, and I may not be able to prepare my children to contribute to the country."

Education key to countering terrorism

As concerns rise about the continued exclusion of women and girls from education, ISIS-K has been recruiting illiterate and unemployed youth in some parts of Afghanistan, particularly in remote areas of the northern provinces, according to local sources.

Mohammad Naim Ghayur, an Afghan military analyst based in Italy, said illiterate youth easily fall into the clutches of terrorist groups.

"Women play a fundamental role in the upbringing of their children," he said. "Educated women raise educated children, contributing to society. However, illiterate women are kept marginalized within families and have no say in any decision. They either have little influence in the upbringing of their sons or are unable to help because of their lack of education."

The more educated women there are in society, the more the society develops, curbing the spread of extremism and the activities of terrorist groups, he said.

"There are more extremism and radicalism in provinces where schools remained closed for most of the past 20 years," Ghayur said. "In provinces where education and knowledge progressed and both girls' and boys' schools were open, there have been fewer signs of extremism and conflict."

The exclusion of women and girls from education lowers the overall literacy rate in society, leading young people away from education and towards extremist and terrorist groups, said Maryam Sofizada, a civil society activist in Herat city.

"An educated and knowledgeable mother raises an educated and knowledgeable man," she said. "It is evident that most members of terrorist groups like ISIS come from areas where schools have been closed and women have been unable to receive proper education."

"To eradicate terrorist groups in Afghanistan, it is essential to open all educational institutions to women and girls as soon as possible," Sofizada said. "Restricting women from acquiring knowledge is an unwarranted and irrational action, like shooting yourself in the foot."

Depriving women and girls of education hinders the progress and development of society as a whole, she added.

A dark future

Fawzia Karokhi, a women's rights activist in Herat province, also envisions a bleak future for Afghanistan as women and girls continue to be deprived of their basic rights.

"In a country where half of the population cannot read or access education, its future appears grim and uncertain," she said.

"When a mother, sister or wife in a family is illiterate, the children in that family will never be raised properly. Depriving women and girls of education leaves the future generations of Afghanistan illiterate and leads them toward self-destruction," she said.

"The consequences of the current situation will become apparent in a few years, and Afghans will pay a heavy price for it," Karokhi warned.

To save Afghanistan from this crisis and an uncertain future, educational opportunities must be provided to women and girls as soon as possible, she added.

Nasima Hamdard, another civil society activist in Herat, stressed that education for both women and men is the sole salvation for Afghanistan from extremism and misfortune.

"Women and girls have greater potential than men in many areas, and with access to education, they can play a significant role in Afghanistan's future," she said. "Depriving them of education hinders their potential achievements and wastes their talents."

"Men, without help from women, cannot single-handedly save Afghanistan from these challenges and crises," Hamdard said. "Over the past two years, as women's roles in social activities have diminished, it is evident that the country's situation is becoming increasingly critical and challenging."

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A number of Taliban also believe that the education of girls should begin in the country, but it is not known who closed the school gates and who is doing this on whose orders? A few months before, the Ministry of Education mentioned the prohibition of education for the majority of girls and said in a statement, "it considers education necessary for every Afghan and provides standard educational services." The Taliban has banned the education of women and girls in high schools and universities "until further notice" and has said that after providing the necessary conditions, they will open the gates of schools and universities for them. However, the Taliban did not take any action to reopen schools and universities hundreds of days after the day they took over power. Afghans repeatedly asked the Taliban to set a date for reopening of schools and universities for all Afghan girls. And if the gates of schools and universities are not opened for girls, this ban can continue for another 50 years. A timetable must be provided. On the other hand, in the statement of the Ministry of Education of the Taliban, it is claimed that the Taliban "in spite of economic restrictions, has kept 19 thousand schools and 13 thousand religious schools open at a high educational level" and "two and a half million girls" in Afghanistan go to school. Taliban has allowed only elementary school girls to go to school. Although this group emphasized on "Educating every Afghan" on the International Educatio


Girls and the right to education Elham and Saham are the daughters of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Elham obtained her bachelor's degree in physics with excellent grades, and after being sent to the University of London, she obtained a master's degree in atomic physics. Saham is a chemistry graduate and received her PhD in organic chemistry after being sent to a British university. And now both are professors at Qatar University of Sciences. When Qaradawi, who is more Muslim and more religious than many, allows his daughters to study and achieve high academic degrees, then who are the Taliban to prevent girls from studying? It is at a time as the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says: "Learning knowledge is obligatory for men and women."


Part 2: - This man says that the girl was in the hospital for half an hour, but you did nothing. - What should I have done? The judge quickly said: - You still don't know what you should have done? - Sir, I know that I have served my people for many years. - So how did the healthy girl die? - Sir, she was not healthy, she was breathing very hard. I am not her killer. The judge hit the table: - So who are the killers? - Ignorance The judge pulled himself together a little, like someone talking to someone very important: - This is not the place for philosophy, just answer me. The defendant's voice suddenly changed and he said loudly: - the killer of his daughter is ignorance. I'm not, I'm innocent. Tears rolled in his eyes and he spoke as if he has brought sacks of complaints: - Sir, it is the 21st century, everything is recorded in the hospital cameras, you see? When he brought his daughter, this person pulled a knife on everyone and said that the male doctor can not approach my daughter, until the female doctor came from the gynecology department, the girl died because there were several patients in the gynecology department. So the killer of the girl is ignorance. Only ignorance, ignorance!


A lesson The judge wrote something on a white paper in front of him and looked at the man from behind the glasses on his nose: - You are the claimant, so you speak first. The said man cleaned his throat and said with an angry voice: - Sir Judge, God will do and you will do this work, he is not a doctor, he is a butcher. Hang him as he turn to a lesson to others, and then no one can kill anyone else's daughter. The judge tapped the pen tip on the page a few times, his forehead turned red and he said loudly: This is the court, there is no room for arguments, give an answer to the question I asked! The man in the white hat, which looked gray for the dirt, lifted it off his head and began to answer questions without saying anything else. Judge: How did your daughter die? - She did not die, this man killed her. - How old was she? - 13 years - Why did you go to the hospital? - In farm, a sheep hit my daughter in the stomach with his head, but it didn't hurt much, her voice was good, but she had a little difficulty in breathing. - How long was the girl in the hospital? - Half and hour - Did the doctor have an enmity with you before? - No, God forbid as I see his face. I don't know anything about him, it was the first time I saw him. The judge looked at the man and then said: That's it, what else do you have to say? - No, I won't say anything to this murderer, but hang him on the gallows so that he would roll like a chicken and die! The judge indicated to the accused to stand in a cer


The right to education for women from the point of view of the holy religion of Islam: education and acquiring knowledge is one of the main tools that every human being can achieve the knowledge of the truth only through them and explore and research about life and the way of creation; therefore, in the religion of Islam, a special importance and place for education has been considered, and there are many examples of Quranic verses and sayings of the prophet in which Muslims are encouraged to acquire knowledge. هل یستوی الذین یعلمون والذین لا یعلمون Translation: “Are those who have knowledge and those who do not have knowledge equal?” اقراء و ربک الاکرم الذی علم بالقلم، علم الانسان ما لم یعلم Translation: “Read. And your Lord is very dear. The one who taught man. And he taught man what he did not know.” انما یخشی الله من عباده العلموا Translation: “Among the servants of God, only the scholars fear Him”. The above verses and other verses that refer to the place of education in the Noble Qur'an all indicate the fundamental importance of science and knowledge, and in the same way, many hadiths (sayings of the prophet) have been narrated in this regard. اطلبوا العلم ولوکان بالصین [Translation]: “Seek knowledge, even if it is in China". طلب علم فریضة علی کل مسلم والمسلمه [Translation]: “Learning science is obligatory for every Muslim man and woman.” As mentioned in the above verses and hadiths, it is not said in any of these verses and hadiths that science and education a


Women and men, as caliphs and representatives of God on earth, have the same human dignity and the same value. The Lord of the universe created men and women from the beginning of creation without any discrimination and put his spirit into them so that they can be good servants, friends and lovers of God, and they were created to worship and know God Almighty. The holy religion of Islam has not asserted any kind of superiority between women and men and has given them equal value and importance, and what is considered superior according Islam is piety. There are some similarities and inherent differences between women and men is a natural thing that God's providence placed on it so that in this way man and woman can remove each other's shortcomings and become complete by joining each other. The existing differences between men and women and talking about the equality of creation and their rights do not necessarily mean "similarity". It means that men and women are on the same level in terms of rights and human status, and both of them have specific tasks and activities in life, but according to the basics of creation and nature, each of them should fulfill the missions of life according to their nature. Let them take the initiative. It means that both men and women can progress in education and achieve a high human position spiritually, but in doing the tasks of life, each of them should act according to their human characteristics and physical capabilities. In international co


I agree 100% with this statement. If a woman is educated, her family will be educated, and there will be order and discipline. If a woman is uneducated, her children would not have access to the same education and family upbringing that an educated woman would have. It is a fact that mother's lap is the first class of training; if someone is raised correctly in this class, then you can be sure that their lifestyle will remain perfect until they pass away, or else everything will fall apart! Our primary need in every aspect of life is the education of girls. The ruling system should review its adverse decision in this regard and allow the oppressed people to receive education so that they can equip their children with knowledge in the future. It is a great cruelty and injustice that is going on in favor of girls.


The Islamic Emirate should allow education for girls. Knowledge is obligatory for men and women. When Islam allows women to learn knowledge, then why does the Islamic Emirate not allow this to happen? Our request to the Islamic Emirate is to open the gates of schools for girls so that they do not do bad deeds and the ISIS terrorist group not succeed in making women join them and the way of thinking of Afghan women and girls not change due to illiteracy and poverty.


I also agree with your opinion. The Islamic Emirate should allow girls to study anymore. The girls have been left in the dark for two years. If it is cruelty, it is enough, and if it is mercy, it is enough. We want education for our daughters and sisters, we don't want ignorance to grow.


Matiullah Wisa, founder of the Pen Path foundation and an activist in the field of education, was released from Taliban custody after nearly seven months. Attaullah Wisa, Mr. Wisa's brother, confirmed this news and said that Matiullah Wisa was released from Taliban prison in the afternoon today, Thursday, October 26. Matiullah Wisa was arrested by the Taliban in March of the current Gregorian year. The Taliban have cited some of the gatherings that were held by him as the reason for his arrest. As an Afghan, I am happy that Mr. Wisa was released from the Taliban. We ask the institutions that sponsored Mr. Wisa to continue his sponsorship so that Afghan children are not left out of education.


We request the government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to open the gates of schools for our girls, so that our girls can improve their education and serve their country in the future. Many fathers wish for their daughters to get education. The Islamic Emirate must respect the rights of women and girls. It is the duty of both men and women to get education. If a woman is sitting at home idle and does not have any other activities to do, she will think more of destruction. She may commit immoral work and make mistake while sitting alone at home thinks about doing bad things a lot. This is why unemployed people, whether male or female, commit many crimes. It is more possible that the ISIS terrorist group will take advantage of the unemployment of these women. One of the problems that the Islamic Emirate is facing with is that, majority of the ISIS group is made up of women. In the war between the Islamic Emirate and the ISIS terrorist group, a lot of women lost their lives. This shows that the ISIS terrorist group has attracted a lot of women. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan should never allow the ISIS terrorist group to attract women and girls who have been deprived of education in its ranks.


This concern is 100% correct. If our people were educated, the war would not spread in this country. It is lack of education that has led us to ignorance. If the doors of girls' education are not opened, there is no doubt that this tragedy will continue because the holy Quran says that, ignorant people are never equal to knowledgeable people. So what are the more visible and Shariah based proofs for a Muslim? For the pleasure of God and the Quran, open more girls' schools, let this oppressed and innocent generation brighten their future with the blessing of science.


Thanks to Salam Times, which often writes about the hot and important issues of Afghanistan and the region. Let me write two points related to your report. First, please don't divide Afghans into Afghans and Hazaras. We are all Afghans. In the captios of two two pictures you wrote the terms 'Afghan girls' while under one picture you wrote 'a Hazara girl'. The term Afghan includes all Afghan ethnic groups, including Hazara, Tajik, Pashtun, Uzbek, Pashayi, Baloch... So please don't do what the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan, and don't sow the seeds of discord among Afghans. It is a fact that the actions of a number of groups and countries in the world make it clear that humanity is dead and gone in the world. What ISIS is doing is totally out of the scope of humanity. And according to reports and a number of documents, ISIS is a terrorist network that was created by the intelligence agencies of the world to abuse the name of Islam and Muslims, to defame Islam and Muslims. Otherwise, what ISIS does has nothing to do with Islam and Muslims. What ISIS terrorists do is similar to what Hamas did to Jewish civilians in occupied Palestine. What ISIS is doing is just like what Israeli forces are doing against the innocent residents of Gaza, and so far they have killed almost 6,000 civilians, including almost 2,000 innocent children, and they are still killing them. By seeing the ruins of Gaza and the condition of Gaza hospitals and Al Jazeera's reports from Gaza, it becomes clear that