Wednesday May 22, 2024

‘Afghanistan can’t do without educated women’

By Rasheed Khalid
March 10, 2023

Islamabad: Participants at a Pak-Afghan Stakeholders Dialogue on “Regional stability and economic connectivity” organised here by Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) have expressed their opinion that the normalisation of Afghan girls’ education is an undebatable demand.

One participant underpinning the need for reopening girls’ schools and amelioration of the educational landscape in Afghanistan observed that we cannot do without education. How is it possible for the Afghan women living under the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan to access sound healthcare in the absence of female doctors and to meet the country’s future healthcare needs with the ban on education questioned by a female delegate.

Noting the current state of Afghan girls’ education and women’s rights, the group extrapolated that the advocacy and outcry on these issues did not so far lead to the expected outcomes as the Qandahar faction of the Taliban, a key actor in the decision-making, was not consulted or spoken to as indicatively as required.

The Afghans do not only want the reopening of girls’ schools, but also an educational system at par with international standards and considerate of the cultural and religious contexts. To forestall future invasions, our youth must advance in science, and other academic disciplines,” said a former Afghan diplomat. Seconding him, a participating Pakistani religious scholar emphasised that socioeconomic and academic progress is the key to preserving civilisations and nations.

The interlocutors reiterated the need to prioritise economic stability and connectivity over political differences. An Afghan commerce expert said that both share ideal proximity - we have similar cultural values, but our problems are also the same, economic crisis being one of them. Now that we finally have peace in our country, we must strive for robust trade and transit and use connected routes to strengthen our economies and establish better trade relations with other regional actors, such as China, Iran, India, Central Asia, etc.

Participants called for eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and malpractices that hinder bilateral trade.