FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/Pool

Kabul, Afghanistan – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Islamic Emirate government fell back on its promise to reopen secondary and high schools for girls’ education, according to sources, marking the remarks before the US senate committee Friday evening.

Earlier this month, the Taliban’s first Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, gave hope on girls’ education, saying the issue was pending for a better decision.

“We have seen, including most recently, the Taliban fall back on its commitment that it had made to ensure that girls can go to school above the six grade,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted.

When asked by Senator Lindsey Graham about the presence of Daesh and al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan, Blinken responded there is a “very small number” of al-Qaeda in the country.   

“ISIS-K is as you know is of course an enemy of the Taliban and the issue there is not the will of the Taliban to take them on, it is their capacity,” he said. “When it comes to the al-Qaeda, the Arab al-Qaeda core, there are a very, very small number of people.”   

Meanwhile, an Afghan female rights activist Shahla Arifi, underscored women and girls in Afghanistan have been deprived of their basic rights, including the rights to education, saying they play constructive role in shaping the country’s future.

“The women and girls of Afghanistan are the future makers of the country and have not been provided with educational, social and political rights,” she said.  

Earlier this month, a German member of the European Parliament Hannah Neuman, called for reconsideration to reopening of girls’ school amid firm restrictions that has deprived female students of their fundamental right – the right to education.

“Girls going back to school on March 23 with hopes for the future being turned down with tears in their eyes, going back home, and some of these families literally used their last penny to allow them to go to school–buy these backpacks, buy these books…” Neuman said, as TOLOnews quoted.

Criticizing the groups leadership in Afghanistan, Neuman elaborated the knowledge and skills needed to lead a country that represents citizens of the nation.

“The Taliban are good fighters apparently because they managed to take over a country, but governing a country needs a rather different set of skills, it especially needs leaders that listen to the citizens that they want to represent,” she explained.

This came at a time the Islamic Emirate has shut down all-girls school across the country since beginning of the Afghan new year in late March, where both private and government sectors mark a new school calendar as well. 

[EARLIER: Baradar Gives Hope on Girls Education in Afghanistan]

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the first Deputy Prime Minister, gave hope on girls’ education in Afghanistan, saying the issue is pending for a better decision.

However, he did not shade brighter light on the status of the decision in progress or the flexibilities the Islamic Emirate may consider on female education across the country.

“A good action will happen in this [education] regard,” Baradar said, according to local media. “There may be goodness in this [education] regard.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE) expressed preparedness to comply with the final decision made under the current leadership should they announce reopening of secondary and high school for girls.

“This is in the authority of the Islamic Emirate’s leadership. The Ministry of Education has made preparations—whenever the leadership of the Islamic Emirate orders, the schools for female students from grade 7-12 will be reopened,” said Aziz Ahmad Riyan, a spokesman of the MoE, as TOLOnews quoted.

Last month, the Islamic Emirate on a formal decree banned female students of grade six and above from attending classes in schools across the country. 

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