AGL 8.64 Increased By ▲ 0.34 (4.1%)
ANL 10.92 Increased By ▲ 0.33 (3.12%)
AVN 80.00 Increased By ▲ 1.40 (1.78%)
BOP 5.56 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (2.02%)
CNERGY 5.43 Decreased By ▼ -0.16 (-2.86%)
EFERT 80.10 Decreased By ▼ -0.15 (-0.19%)
EPCL 71.14 Increased By ▲ 1.54 (2.21%)
FCCL 15.40 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (0.65%)
FFL 6.62 Increased By ▲ 0.09 (1.38%)
FLYNG 7.35 Increased By ▲ 0.17 (2.37%)
GGGL 10.86 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.09%)
GGL 16.99 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (1.19%)
GTECH 8.25 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (1.35%)
HUMNL 7.20 Increased By ▲ 0.16 (2.27%)
KEL 3.00 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.33%)
LOTCHEM 32.70 Increased By ▲ 1.93 (6.27%)
MLCF 28.80 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-0.62%)
OGDC 85.70 Increased By ▲ 2.95 (3.56%)
PAEL 16.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.07 (-0.41%)
PIBTL 6.14 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (0.99%)
PRL 18.10 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
SILK 1.18 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (2.61%)
TELE 11.60 Increased By ▲ 0.35 (3.11%)
TPL 9.25 Increased By ▲ 0.05 (0.54%)
TPLP 20.06 Increased By ▲ 0.18 (0.91%)
TREET 26.66 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (0.76%)
TRG 97.50 Increased By ▲ 2.90 (3.07%)
UNITY 19.75 Increased By ▲ 0.25 (1.28%)
WAVES 14.13 Decreased By ▼ -0.21 (-1.46%)
WTL 1.31 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.77%)
BR100 4,256 Increased By 68.8 (1.64%)
BR30 15,739 Increased By 265.1 (1.71%)
KSE100 42,697 Increased By 601.2 (1.43%)
KSE30 16,156 Increased By 273.3 (1.72%)

KABUL: The Taliban prohibition on girls’ education shows the movement’s ultra-conservatives retain tight control of the Islamist group, and exposes a power struggle that puts at risk crucial aid for Afghanistan’s desperate population, experts say.

The ban has triggered international outrage and even left many in the Taliban movement baffled by the decision.

“The order was devastating,” a senior Taliban member told AFP. “The supreme leader himself interfered.”

All Taliban officials who spoke to AFP on the subject did so on condition of anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the topic.

Secondary schools for girls were ordered to shut last month, just hours after being reopened for the first time since the Taliban’s return to power in August.

The shocking U-turn came after a secret meeting of the group’s leadership in the city of Kandahar, the Taliban’s de facto power centre.

Officials have never justified the ban, apart from saying the education of girls must be according to “Islamic principles”.

But one senior Taliban official told AFP that Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and some other senior figures were “ultra-conservative on this issue” and dominated the discussion.

Two groups — the urban and the ultra-conservatives — have emerged in the movement, he said.

“The ultra-conservatives have won this round,” he added, referring to a group of clerics including Chief Justice Abdul Hakim Sharai, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor Mohammad Saqeb and Minister for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Mohammad Khalid Hanafi.

The clerics feel excluded from government decisions and voicing their opposition to girls’ education is one way to restore their influence, said Ashley Jackson, a London-based researcher who has worked extensively on Afghanistan.

She told AFP the “outsized influence of this out-of-touch minority” has prevented the country from moving ahead with something the vast majority of Afghans favour — including much of the leadership.

“It shows that Kandahar remains the centre of gravity for Taliban politics,” said International Crisis Group analyst Graeme Smith.

A senior Taliban member said the hardliners were trying to appease thousands of fighters who hail from the deeply conservative countryside.

“For them, even if a woman steps out of her home it is immoral. So, imagine what it means to educate her,” he said.

The Taliban member said Akhundzada was against “modern, secular education” as he associated it with life under former Western-backed presidents Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani.

“That’s his worldview.”

The Taliban returned to power last year as US-led forces ended an occupation in place since an invasion ousted the hardliners in 2001.

In the 20 years between the Taliban’s two reigns, girls were allowed to go to school and women were able to seek employment in all sectors, though the country remained socially conservative.

Activist and Islamic scholar Tafsir Siyaposh noted girls in Afghanistan have always studied in single-sex classes and followed an Islamic curriculum, so the ban shows the Taliban just wanted to “oppress the rights of women by giving excuses”.

A Taliban source in Pakistan confirmed differences at the leadership level on the issue, but said the movement was in no danger of fragmenting.

“There is a debate on this issue ... but we are trying to overcome our shortcomings,” he said.

Still, analysts say the ban was a blow to Taliban efforts to gain international recognition and to raise aid to address Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.

Jackson said neither Akhundzada nor those closest to him “fully understood or appreciated” the consequences of their edict for an international community that has linked official recognition to the group’s respect for women’s rights.

Even some senior Taliban officials agree.

Comments

Comments are closed.