Taliban to ‘allow girls` education`: Minister

Taliban is prepared to drop their ban on schooling girls in Afghan, the country`s education minister says.

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2011, 00:37 AM IST

London: The Taliban is to drop its
opposition to the education of girls in Afghanistan, the
country`s education minister has told British media.

Farooq Wardak said in an interview with the TES (Times
Education Supplement) that a "cultural change" meant the
Taliban were no longer opposed to girls going to school. He
said an agreement had been worked out in discussions with the

Afghan women were banned from working or getting an
education under the Taliban regime which was overthrown in the
2001 US-led invasion of the country.

Wardak told the TES: "It is attitudinal change, it is
behavioural change, it is cultural change.

"What I am hearing at the very upper policy level of
the Taliban is that they are no more opposing education and
also girls` education."

He added: "I hope, Inshallah, soon there will be a
peaceful negotiation, a meaningful negotiation with our own
opposition and that will not compromise at all the basic human
rights and basic principles which have been guiding us to
provide quality and balanced education to our people."

The minister, who spoke to the TES at the Education
World Forum in London, claimed there had been significant
shifts in attitude towards education since the Taliban was
toppled and insisted that they would not be reversed.

"In the deepest pockets of our society, not only the
Taliban, there was not very friendly behaviour with
education," he said.

"That is the reason that in many provinces of
Afghanistan we do not have either male or female teacher.

"During the Taliban era the percentage of girls of the
one million students that we had was zero per cent. The
percentage of female teachers was zero per cent.

"Today 38 per cent of our students and 30 per cent of
our teachers are female."

However, he conceded that Afghanistan had a huge task
ahead. In more than 400 districts and urban centres in
Afghanistan, 200 still have no girls enrolled in high school,
he said.