Washington: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has raised concern for Afghan women and girls as the Taliban retakes control of the war-torn country after 20 years of US military intervention.
“The Taliban, who until 20 years ago forbade practically all girls and women from attending school and punished those who dared to defy them, are back in power. I, like many other women, am concerned about my Afghan sisters “Malala said in an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times on August 17.
“I can’t help but recall my own youth.” When the Taliban took over my community in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and soon after barred girls from attending school, I concealed my books beneath my long, thick shawl and walked to school in terror. “Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban attempted to assassinate me for speaking up about my right to attend school,” she wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times.
“In the previous two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls have earned an education,” Malala Yousafzai stated. Now the future they were promised is on the verge of disappearing.”
“We will have time to debate what went wrong in Afghanistan’s conflict, but at this important juncture, we must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls. They are asking for security, education, and the freedom and future that they have been promised. We cannot continue to let them down. “We don’t have time to waste,” Malala added.
Interestingly, the Taliban has committed to “respect women’s rights” in the country this time, striking a conciliatory tone.
Yousafzai wrote in the New York Times, raising doubts about the Taliban’s pledge, “Given the Taliban’s history of violently restricting women’s rights, Afghan women’s anxieties are understandable. Already, we are hearing instances of female students being turned away from institutions and female employees being turned away from their workplaces.”
Yousafzai, a long-time advocate for girls’ education, survived a Pakistani Taliban assassination attempt when she was only 15 years old and was shot in the head.
Since then, the Oxford graduate has become a global icon advocating for girls’ education. On Sunday, the jihadist group grabbed control of Afghanistan after storming the presidential palace in Kabul.