Malala Yousafzai urges the Taliban to let Afghan girls return to school

It's now been a month since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and forbid girls from returning to secondary school.

Malala Yousafzai at a film and fashion event in London on 21 September, 2021.

Malala Yousafzai at a film and fashion event in London on 21 September, 2021. Source: Getty Images Europe

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban as a schoolgirl, has urged Afghanistan's new rulers to let girls return to school.

It has been one month since the hardline Islamist Taliban, which seized power in August, excluded girls from returning to secondary school while ordering boys back to class.

The Taliban has claimed they will allow girls to return once they have ensured security and stricter segregation under their interpretation of Islamic law - but many are sceptical.

"To the Taliban authorities...reverse the de facto ban on girls' education and re-open girls' secondary schools immediately," Ms Yousafzai and a number of Afghan women's rights activists said in an open letter published on Sunday.

Ms Yousafzai called on the leaders of Muslim nations to make it clear to the Taliban that "religion does not justify preventing girls from going to school".

"Afghanistan is now the only country in the world that forbids girls' education," said the writers, who included the head of the Afghan human rights commission under the last US-backed government Shaharzad Akbar.

The authors called on G20 world leaders to provide urgent funding for an education plan for Afghan children.

A petition alongside the letter had on Monday received more than 640,000 signatures.

Education activist Ms Yousafzai was shot by militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban, in her hometown in the Swat valley while on a school bus in 2012.

Now 24 years old, she advocates for girls’ education, with her non-profit Malala Fund having invested AUD $2.7 million in Afghanistan.

Published 19 October 2021 at 6:20am
Source: AFP - SBS