Pamphlets distributed by the Taliban in Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan yesterday impose a ban on co-educational schooling in the region. According to the Times of India, all co-educational schools in the region must close by Monday. During the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which lasted until 2001, Afghan girls were forbidden to attend school.
In December, regional Taliban leader Mullah Shah Doran announced an education ban that impacts women and girls in a northern part of Pakistan known as the Swat Valley. The directive set a deadline of January 15 for all girls, both in single-sex and co-educational schools, to be withdrawn. The Taliban reportedly threatens to bomb schools that ignore this directive and to severely punish violators. Teacher Mohamed Osman told the Times of India that “we have no choice but to follow the orders. The government cannot give us protection. Taliban runs a parallel government in 90 per cent of the area of the district and they execute everyone who opposes them.”
Enrollment of women and girls in schools and colleges in the Swat Valley region is only a quarter of what it was only three years ago, before the Taliban gained strength there, according to the Washington Times. In the past year, more than 130 schools, many of which were all girl institutions, have been destroyed in the area.