Thomas West is “frankly not hopeful” females will be allowed to attend classes in the new school year.
The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, said that the Islamic Emirate’s promise to reopen schools and universities for women has not been fulfilled.
In a special interview with TOLOnews, West added that the issue of women’s education and work is among the very first issues that US will continue to raise in the international forum, with the Islamic Emirate and with major powers in the region.
“If a decision is made by the Taliban to see girls to return to schools, to see women return to university, to see women return to work, to move freely, all of those decisions will be certainly welcomed by the international community, but they will make that decision for internal Afghan reasons, not because the international community is making this request. It has been a consistent call of Afghans from across the country to see these decisions made,” West said.
As the new academic year is approaching, Thomas West said that he is “frankly not hopeful” that in the new year females will be allowed to go to schools and universities.
“Even in the weeks following the March 23rd decision last year to ban girls from secondary schools, we heard promises that they would be back in school soon. Frankly those promises fall flat at this point, and we need to see delivery,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed asked the international community to remain united in to addressing the educational needs and rights of Afghan girls.
“For more than 500 days the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have denied secondary school girls their basic right to an education, this must end immediately,” Mohammed said.
“It is unfortunate what is happening in Afghanistan, when we are not talking about digital education, how do you make sure that girls get digital education, that they get computational education so that they can participate meaningfully in the digital world– that in other parts we are faced with the situation where there is not even education for girls,” Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations and Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women, told a press conference.
However, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the current government is not against the work and education of women, and due to preparations, this work has been suspended until further notice.
“This issue belongs to the two ministries, which are that of education, and the Ministry of Higher Education, and whenever they are ready, it will be allowed,” Mujahid added.