Malala fears the Taliban’s ban on Afghan girls’ education is not temporary

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Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai has said she fears the Taliban’s claim that its ban on girls’ education in Afghanistan is temporary may not be true.

The Pakistani activist was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 after angering them with her campaign for girls’ schooling.

She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m afraid that this ban that they have announced right now that they’re calling temporary might not actually be temporary.”

Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai says the Taliban’s commitment to protecting women’s rights has been vague (Jonathan Brady/PA Archive)

She pointed to a similar promise by the Taliban of a temporary halt on girls’ schooling in 1996, saying: “That ban lasted for five years.”

Ms Yousafzai’s comments came after the outgoing head of the British armed forces, Gen Sir Nick Carter, said that the current regime in Kabul was different from the original Taliban – who took over in the 1990s.

Asked about his hopes of a more moderate Taliban, she said: “The Taliban have been quite vague about their commitment to protecting women’s rights, and they announced two months ago that Afghan boys can go to school, but for two months Afghan girls have not been able to go to their secondary schools…

“We’re calling on the Taliban to immediately allow girls to have access to their complete education, we’re calling on G20 leaders and other world leaders to ensure that girls’ rights are protected in Afghanistan”.

Ms Yousafzai said what she is advocating for is not a “privilege”, but “basic human rights that every woman and girl should have”.

She said neighbouring countries should help ensure that women’s rights are protected in Afghanistan.

“It’s not just for the safety of the people in Afghanistan, but for the safety of the whole region.”

The 24-year-old activist, who was married at her home in Birmingham last week, said she had questioned marriage but was never opposed to it.

She said: “I had concerns about marriage and that is true for many girls around the world who have seen reports about child marriage and divorce, and the imbalance of power and how girls and women make more compromises than men, and how a lot of these customs are influenced by patriarchy and misogyny.

“So, you have to question the systems that we’re living in and you have to question the status quo, but I’m lucky that I’ve found a husband who understands my values.

“He understands my sense of humour and we have a lot in common.”

She revealed on Twitter she had tied the knot with partner Asser Malik in a small service on Tuesday. Pictures showed her in a pink dress, while Mr Malik wore a matching tie.

Ms Yousafzai became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014, winning the accolade for her work campaigning for girls to have a universal right to education.

She completed a philosophy, politics and economics degree at Oxford University last year.

The activist has also set up the Malala Fund, which aims to support the education of girls around the world.

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