Troops of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) have foiled a planned suicide attack on a girls’ school in Kabul, Daily Outlook Afghanistan reported on Wednesday. NDS troops shot and wounded Bakhtullah, the would-be suicide bomber, in Khoshi district of the central Logar province.
According to the NDS, Bakhtullah confessed to the plot during preliminary investigations. He reportedly said he had been appointed by Rehan, a commander of Haqqani network, to carry out the bombing of a girls’ school in the Chahar Asiab district of Kabul.
Taliban insurgents have always been against the education of girls in Afghanistan. They have made many attempts to discourage female education. The places where they have a stronghold, the Taliban do not allow females to even think of getting a modern education. Females are allowed to get only basic Arabic education, nothing more than that.
But it is not just the Taliban who are against female education; there are many families in rural Afghanistan where education of girls is impossible. As most of those areas are dominated by patriarchy, religious extremism and tribalism, the thoughts of the people are still very conservative.
As per parochial tribal norms and extremist religious beliefs, women are not meant to get education. Their duties are to be inside the boundaries of their houses, which they cannot leave except with the permission of an authorized male member.
Though there have been some efforts to counter traditional beliefs regarding female education, they are mostly limited to a couple of large cities. Most of the small cities and villages do not have a proper arrangement or any arrangement, for the education of women.
Furthermore, these efforts are met with ruthless violence. There have been many incidents when fanatics have thrown acid on the faces of girls who go to school. Poisoning of schoolgirls has been very common. Even in Kabul, there were many occasions when hundreds of school girls were poisoned with mysterious gases.
In certain cases, Taliban had even bombed girls’ schools so as to destroy them completely. Parents, who are interested to let their girls get an education, have to think a thousand times, because for them the lives of their children are dearer than their education.
The entire education system in Afghanistan has been going through difficulties. Continuous wars for decades have destroyed the education system, particularly, after the rise of the Taliban in 1996.
The Taliban banned female education and promulgated the madressah system of religious education, in which students were confined to a single approach towards education, the religious approach, which rested on an extremist interpretation of Islam and Islamic concepts.
Investigation and research were banned strictly, and students, called Talibs, were not allowed to question their teachers. The basic purpose of education, to open up the minds of students, was non-existent. Schools were more like training camps for generating cadre for terrorist groups.
Today, the situation has improved. But it has miles to go. The important factor to note is that the drawbacks in the system are hurting the weaker strata of society to a larger extent than others. Unfortunately women belongs to that strata, the paper points out.
The status of women in Afghanistan is deplorable. According to www.trustin education.org, Many women die in pregnancy and childbirth: There were 460 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010. 85% of women have no formal education and are illiterate. As for live births per woman, the average is six. On tenth of children die before their fifth birthday. Life expectancy for women is just 51. Life expectancy for women is 51.