Afghan families move to Iran to defy Taliban's education ban for girls
A rising number of Afghan families have moved to neighboring Iran after the Taliban government failed to deliver on its promise to allow girls to recommence their education at schools following a disgraceful US pullout.
Before and after the Taliban's return to power following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the group kept telling girls that they would be allowed to attend schools, but as thousands of teenage girls across the country were prepared to return to schools on March 23, the decision was reversed.
Taliban guards posted outside schools barred their entry, leaving students in tears as they headed back home with books in hand.
“They would look at the girls and say: ‘Go home. Even studying this much should be enough for you all',” the Middle East Eye quoted Nilofar, a teacher in the western Province of Herat, as saying.
Following the Taliban’s move, sources, who spoke to the Middle East Eye in Iran's northeastern city of Mashhad, said that enrollment at schools catering for Afghan refugees had increased over the last six weeks, particularly for young girls.
A principal at one such school said that although education might not be the primary factor pulling people towards Iran, it was a significant one.
“There are major issues with insecurity and the economy," the principal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. "But if education isn’t the number one reason for these families to come here, it’s definitely high up.”
Zainab Sajadi, the principal at a non-governmental school for Afghan refugees in Mashhad, told MEE that the enrollment of undocumented students had risen since the Taliban takeover last summer.