Fatima Amiri, a survivor of the Kaaj Educational Center attack and advocate for girls’ education, criticized the halting of scholarships for Afghan girls and urged the consideration of alternative educational opportunities instead of following prohibitive policies in this emergency.
Fatima, speaking at a virtual conference on girls’ education in Afghanistan, added that there should be a sustained fight against the normalization of education bans, as the opposition to girls’ education stems from a mentality based on gender apartheid, affecting not just thousands or millions, but various generations.
She was a member of the elite class at the Kaaj Educational Center, which was targeted by a terrorist attack in September 2022, resulting in the death of over 60 students, and Fatima herself was severely injured. She is currently undergoing treatment in Turkey. About a month after the attack, Fatima and her classmates, many of whom were also injured, took the university entrance exam, attracting public attention with their university admissions. However, the Taliban did not allow girls to pursue higher education.
Fatima Amiri was named one of the BBC’s 100 influential and inspiring women in December of that year. She described the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan as dire, pressured from all sides and facing dead ends wherever they turn. She called this an “emergency” situation and advocated for support for girls’ education in Afghanistan.
Fatima stated that providing opportunities for girls’ education abroad is a priority, and there should also be support for online education for girls. She mentioned on the social media platform X that creating online courses is another alternative, though not a main solution. Still, efforts should be made to ensure that education does not come to a complete halt.
Meanwhile, several girls aspiring for international university scholarships express that the restrictions imposed by the Taliban are significant barriers to obtaining educational scholarships. In the latest instance, local media reported a female student’s claim that her study request in Russia was rejected solely due to the current conditions in Afghanistan.
According to the Russian educational institution’s email to the female student residing in Kabul: “Considering the current conditions in Afghanistan, applications from women are temporarily not under review.”
This rejection of girls’ educational requests occurred while the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban administration had previously prevented the travel of girls who had received scholarships to study at various universities, including those in Russia and the United Arab Emirates.