Former Pakistani schoolgirl and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has asked Afghanistan’s new authorities to allow girls to return to school after her assassination by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012.
Exactly one month has elapsed since the extreme Islamist Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s government in August and barred females from going to secondary school while ordering boys back to study.
While the Taliban has said that they would allow females to return after they have guaranteed security and tighter segregation in accordance with their understanding of Islamic law, the majority of people remain sceptical.
An open letter released on Sunday by Yousafzai and a number of Afghan women’s rights advocates called on Taliban officials to “lift the de facto ban on girls’ education and re-open girls’ secondary schools immediately.”
The Taliban should be told, Yousafzai said, that “faith does not excuse stopping girls from going to school.” She called on the leaders of Muslim countries to make that plain.
Afghanistan is currently the only nation in the world that prohibits females from pursuing higher education, according to the authors, who included Shaharzad Akbar, the former director of Afghanistan’s human rights commission under the previous US-backed administration.
The authors called on global leaders from the Group of Twenty (G20) to give immediate financing for an education plan for children in Afghanistan.
A petition, which was circulated with the letter, has garnered more than 640,000 signatures as of Monday.
Yousafzai, an education campaigner, was shot and killed by terrorists from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban, in her home town of Swat, Pakistan, while riding a school bus in 2012. She was a student at the time of the attack.
Now 24 years old, she is an advocate for girls’ education, and her non-profit, the Malala Fund, has spent $2 million in Afghanistan as part of her campaign.