‘I don’t want to be illiterate’: Afghan girls defy Taliban school ban

·1-min read

Despite international pressure, Taliban authorities have banned teenage girls from going to school in most Afghan provinces, denying an entire generation access to education. Some girls have chosen to defy the ban, taking huge risks to pursue their hopes and dreams. FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent and Tarek Kai visited a secret school in Kabul where determined activists brave the Taliban’s rules to give young women the education they aspire to.

Nearly a year has gone by since the Taliban said they were "temporarily" suspending secondary schools for girls aged above 12, upending the lives of millions of young women. Afghanistan's Islamist rulers later backtracked on a promise to reopen schools in the spring.

Despite the ban, some schools have chosen to remain open to girls, in secret. FRANCE 24 visited one such school, where some 230 young girls receive a few hours of classes each day.

"Most of the time we are afraid on the street, on the road. But I don't want to be illiterate," said one pupil, referring to her fears of being caught on the way to school.

"I have a lot of dreams and I have a lot of hopes," said another. "I don't want to sit at home because sitting at home is wasting time."

Click on the player above to watch the report from Kabul. And watch the video below for more analysis from our senior reporter Catherine Norris Trent.