Education International

ATROAfghan Teachers' Rights Observatory

Testimony

Anonymous, female secondary school teacher, union, and women’s rights activist

I am a former provincial leader of the National Teachers’ Elected Council. At the same time, I have been a women’s rights activist for a long time, advocating for girls’ education and participation of women in different organizations.

At the same time, I had been actively advocating for the rights of the teachers through my union. Due to my engagement with teachers’ union and women’s rights activism, I was one of the most well-known people in my city which put me in imminent danger.

Being the oldest person in the family, I am responsible for taking care of my mother and my three younger sisters and two younger brothers too. Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan and Taliban forces entered the city, my family and I were in danger. We were threatened by local Taliban leaders and some members of the family were forced to live in hiding.

The local Taliban leaders/Mullah of the mosque threatened my family directly and said that ‘you should marry your younger sisters to our men.’ They will not have a say even if they do not wish to get married to Taliban men.

I have three brothers and 6 sisters. One of my sisters is a journalist. One of my sisters with three children has been abandoned by her husband. She was a trainer in a gym and could survive thanks to her salary there. The Taliban closed the Gym too, so she has no work and no means to live.

My two younger sisters are single and lived with me. They studied law and medicine. One of my brothers who worked with the previous Government, stopped working, and hid in a far-off village because the Taliban went after him. He would have been killed if they had found him. He is married and he has two baby girls. Another brother studied law, the Taliban forces girls to marry them, and do not allow girls to go to university. The Taliban forces girls older than 12 years to marry the Taliban men and have children with them. School is not important for girls. It is Jihad in their idea. Currently our family is stranded in Pakistan, and we are scared for our safety and wellbeing.

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Shakila, a female teacher for over 15 years in a girls’ school in the Balkh province

I have been very unhappy for the last year due to the unsafe situation. Unfortunately, my daughters are currently not allowed to attend school, which badly impacts their morale.

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