Education ban by the Taliban: a shocking reality in 21st century

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This blog post was written by Farima Nawabi, Affiliated Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute

The International Day of Education will be celebrated on 24th January 2023, while millions of girls are deprived of an education in Afghanistan. Getting an education is a human right, Afghan girls are deprived of their basic rights.

After the ban on the education of female students above grade six in March 2022, the Taliban once again took the restrictions one step further and put a ban on education for all Afghan girls in December 2022. Afghan female students are officially banned from any sort of education in Afghanistan. Girls are not allowed to get primary and secondary education, in addition, they cannot attend universities, and women are not allowed to have a job and an income.

The order comes after other 35 orders that already restricted all aspects of life for Afghan women, including working in government institutions, national and international NGOs, getting an education, traveling long distances alone without a male guardian, and many more.

This is their harshest restriction on women since they seized power in August 2021. With these restrictions, Afghanistan has become the most totalitarian country for women in the world in the 21st century.

I do not recall any other violation of human rights with this scale and harshness anywhere around the world. Around 15 million girls and women have been deprived of all basic rights. It is, without a doubt, a serious crime against humanity.

The price of the ban on all sorts of education is very high for the devastated Afghan society after 44 years of war and instability. By banning girls from school and getting an education, girls are literally imprisoned in their own houses, which comes with consequences such as early/child marriages, domestic violence, the sales of young girls, suicides, mental health issues, severe depression, including many other issues.

The financial cost of the ban on girls’ education is not less than other aspects. The latest figures on the prevention of girls’ education in Afghanistan show, approximately around four million girls are now out of schools and universities. If these girls were able to complete their education and enter the job market, their contribution to the Afghan economy could be around 6 billion dollars, which could be 2,5 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP. Sadly, this contribution is lost.

Each year of the education ban increases wages. The financial loss from female education is massive and will rapidly increase in the coming years if the Taliban stay in control and schools remain closed.

While the financial damage is huge, the social devastation is even greater. The Taliban deny women and girls any sort of liberty and forbid them from being in public unless accompanied by a close male relative. By forcing women out of society and putting them under the supervision of a man, the Taliban has divided every household into upper and lower classes, which will create hostility inside every house. In the long run, an uneducated deprived woman under the supervision of a man becomes a slave, deprived of all sorts of rights.

The Taliban’s extremely enacted severe gender policies, which they justified with the claim that the Sharia supports such measures. However, The Taliban’s claim is nowhere in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims. It has also never been practiced in any of the countries with a Muslim population since Islam was introduced. The Taliban’s interpretation of Islam is ugly and damaging. It has dismantled half of society with devastating consequences.

In January 2023, on the International Day of Education, on behalf of millions of women and girls in Afghanistan, I pled to the human rights organizations/institutions, including the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law to stand with the women and girls of Afghanistan. We must stand for human rights values and principles, and advocate for justice and equality. We need to be the voice of the women and girls whose voices have been silenced by a terrorist group.

If we cannot support the women and girls in Afghanistan in  having the right to education which is a basic right today, we cannot support any human rights values and principles tomorrow and, in the years, to come.

Read more by Farima Nawabi here:

Taliban Bans Basic Education for Girls in Afghanistan – The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (


Afghanistan: Girls Are Not Allowed To Go To School. Again. – The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (

Featured picture: Nk Ni 

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