The next time someone tells you we should withdraw from Afghanistan, listen to their reasons. Some will be very persuasive, some will not. But also ask them, what about the women and girls whom we have set free? What will become of them? See article below:
Schoolgirls in Afghanistan continue to face threats, attacks
Fifty-nine Afghan schoolgirls and 14 teachers were hospitalized this morning after an apparent gas poisoning, CNN reported. The attack occurred at a girls’ high school in Kabul.
Ultra-conservative elements in Afghan society oppose female education and have a history of setting fire to girls’ schools, threatening teachers and attacking students. Some even earn money for doing so. Although these extremists aim to terrify girls back into isolation and ignorance, many young women refuse be intimidated.
In 2001, only 1 million Afghans were enrolled in school, all of them boys, The New York Times reported. Today, approximately 7 million Afghan children attend school, of which 2.6 million are girls. However, schools for girls still remain closed in Taliban strongholds, particularly in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Two years ago, Shamsia Husseini was walking to school when a man on a motorbike drove up and asked if she was going to school. He then pulled the scarf away from Shamsia’s head and threw acid in her face. Five other girls were also badly burned in the attack. Shamsia is now back at school, even though she fears the man on the bike will return to hurt her again.
“I still have nightmares,” she told CBS Evening News. “I will fight these people by continuing to go to school. Last time they threw acid to stop me, but even if they hit me with bullets, I will not stop going to school.”
How to help
Ayenda: The Afghan Children Initiative funds projects relating to education for Afghan children. The group grants scholarships to female students, builds schools and provides food and supplies to schoolchildren in Afghanistan.
The Afghan Institute of Learning works to empower Afghans, especially women, through education. The AIL also operates five health clinics in Afghanistan.
Greg Mortenson, humanitarian and author of the bestselling book, “Three Cups of Tea,” supports educational programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with a special emphasis on educating girls. CAI builds schools in underserved rural areas, offers educational scholarships and provides stable salaries for teachers.