At a graduation ceremony, 146 graduates from Paktia University Medical School walked the stage. There was not a single female graduate among them.
Graduates of the medical school used this day as a moment to call for the Taliban to open up schools and universities for girls immediately, asserting that “girls also have the right to education and their time should not be wasted.”
Baraktullah Takal, a graduate student, urged higher education to allow girls to go to schools and universities because “in a society we need female and male doctors.” Family members of the graduate students voiced their support and reflected hopefulness that one day their daughters would receive graduation certificates, too.
Paktia University, located in the Southeast region of Afghanistan, a predominantly Pashto speaking region of the country, openly opposed the Taliban’s policy of banning women and girls from pursuing higher education. Notably, the Taliban, who are themselves mostly Pashto speakers, have often faced opposition from the Pashto speaking regions of Afghanistan for their policies and treatment of the people, especially women and girls.
Unemployment at highest since Taliban Takeover
In the current environment under the Taliban restrictions as well as economic challenges, those who are educated have been struggling to find jobs and are forced to leave Afghanistan in search of better opportunities. This leaves a population of students who are highly educated, but unemployed. Fardin, 26, has a degree in law and political sciences, but because of scarce opportunities, he faces having to leave his homeland in search of a job.
“I studied for 16 years and nobody thinks about us…we are obliged to leave the country,” he explained. Another unemployed graduate added “I am jobless because there are no opportunities in Afghanistan.” This trend is explained by a political analyst in Afghanistan as the consequence of economic challenges that leave young people with no hope for their future. According to an International Red Cross finding, the number of unemployed people in Afghanistan has increased dramatically.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Economy stated their intention to “pay serious attention to investment in infrastructure and development of small and medium industries…” The Ministry of Economy then announced ongoing projects in order to reduce poverty and provide work for young people in Qosh Tepa in northern Afghanistan, either mining or transferring oil and gas. This comes after various edicts barring women from working and studying.
The Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Blames the “foreigners” for encouraging Afghans to leave
The Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar delivered an address on Eid in response to these concerns, saying “foreigners are spreading rumors about the country’s economic problems while encouraging people to leave Afghanistan,” and that “any economic problems are the result of the occupation of the last 20 years and the continuous drought in the country.”
A large number of people have left the country due to these issues since August 2021 after the Taliban takeover. Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, the Taliban’s acting chief minister, emphasized the Taliban’s commitment to “development in the country and strengthening security in Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, 28.8 million Afghans – representing 60% of the population – require humanitarian assistance in 2023.
Amu 06/28/2023; TOLOnews 06/26/2023; TOLOnews 06/26/2023;