Sunday, July 25, 2021

Discord rises as schoolgirls singing banned in Kabul

The row comes amid concerns about the consequences of a possible peace deal with the Taliban.

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The Afghan education ministry says it is investigating a recent statement from the director of education in the capital, Kabul, which banned girls older than 12 from singing at public functions and also banned older girls from having male music teachers.

The education ministry says the ban does not reflect its own position and it may take disciplinary action.

The ban was widely criticised on social media with girls sharing clips of themselves singing using the hashtag #IAmMySong. Literary figures and campaigners saying it was a backward step in educational rights.

“Forgive us God, human beings can be so cruel that they see even a child from a gender-based perspective,” tweeted author and poet Shafiqa Khpalwak, one of the country’s best known female writers.

Some women compared it to life under the Taliban – who were ousted in 2001 – when girls were banned from going to school and most music was forbidden.

The row comes amid concerns about the consequences of a possible peace deal with the Taliban.

“This is Talibanisation from inside the republic,” Sima Samar, an Afghan human rights activist of nearly 40 years, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The Afghan government is currently under pressure to forge a peace deal with the Taliban, and although many Afghan women want an end to the violence, they are worried about their future rights, correspondents say.

The US is currently still deciding whether to withdraw its remaining military presence in the country.

There have been warnings of a Taliban resurgence once the last foreign troops leave.

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