Taliban’s Restrictions on Education and Thought

In the past, it was said that there comes good news every now and then, but nowadays the situation is reversed and news of restrictions, repression, arrests, and torture is transmitted from Afghanistan to the world on a regular basis. It is not necessary to be a member of ISIS or an opposing military group to be punished. Someone taking a step to promote knowledge, particularly to make girls literate in this country, is sufficient; even if a literate person merely writes a few sentences on Facebook, which are unrelated to the Taliban and are simply a personal comment on religious or social matters. The most recent example is the arrest of Rasul Abdi, a scholar of Sharia Law, for expressing his opinion on religious matters, and Motiullah Wisa, the founder of the Rah Qalam Foundation, for promoting education for girls.

Taliban officials, from the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Acting Minister of Interior, Ministry of Defense and others, have consistently boasted and highlighted their honest fulfilment of all commitments in Doha with the American side when facing the media or foreign delegations, particularly those providing funding. They have taken the necessary steps to demonstrate good faith. The people of Afghanistan are unaware of the commitments that their leaders have made to the American side in Doha, which they boast about and receive money for. What the people observe is that if someone attempts to document the number of children in the country, they risk their life. Furthermore, if someone expresses an opinion on religious or social matters after years of education and study, they will be arrested and tortured, and may even lose their life.

The perpetuation of this process is certainly to instill fear and intimidation in every citizen, particularly those who are educated and have a better grasp of political and social unrest and can raise the public‘s consciousness of their forfeited rights by voicing and criticizing them. Over the past eighteen months, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee due to the oppressive atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Those who are unable or unwilling to leave are constantly in fear that a single word or sarcastic comment on social media could lead to the most severe threats and dangers. Intimidation and terror are strategies employed by authoritarian regimes to control and oppress their citizens.

In the short term, this method can be advantageous to authoritarian regimes, allowing them to suppress protests, silence voices, and conceal facts, enabling them to do as they please. However, as many countries around the world have experienced, this method can lead to the accumulation of public anger, resulting in an outburst, and ultimately causing instability, chaos, and the downfall of the system. Due to Afghanistan‘s complex ethnic, religious, linguistic, geographical and geopolitical structure, the prevalence of rebellion and armed conflict has been demonstrated over the course of more than a century of regime collapse. The international community, particularly the United States of America, must acknowledge their responsibility for the plight of the people of Afghanistan and take more decisive action to combat a repressive regime that violates human rights and is accused of crimes against humanity. To this end, simply cutting financial aid is not sufficient; measures must be taken to put an end to tyranny and oppression.