Taliban dismiss almost 500 female nursery teachers

Decision slammed as 'shameful' by father of Malala Yousafzai

A Taliban fighter stands guard along a blocked street ahead of the council meeting of tribal and religious leaders in Kabul. AFP
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The Taliban have reportedly barred almost 500 women from working as nursery school teachers, shutting off another revenue stream for women as they are further pushed out of public life in Afghanistan.

The ruling from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs included the names of 469 nursery teachers as well as managers and staff, the Independent's Farsi edition reported.

In footage shared by Afghan activists and former parliamentarians on Thursday, women can be seen crying following the edict.

“Each tear shed represents a family losing a stable income, a woman losing her independence, a child losing an educator,” said former politician Mariam Solaimankhil.

“This is more than unfair; it's unconscionable.”

The move is one of several that have effectively confined women, including more one million secondary school-aged girls, to their homes for almost two years in what the UN has called the “most repressive” country for women.

It has also been condemned by the father of education activist Malala Yousafzai, who said the Taliban “must allow Afghan teachers to teach and Afghan girls to learn”.

“While the world remains silent, the Taliban are moving towards normalising a system of complete gender apartheid with their inhumane and anti-women policies,” said Ziauddin Yousafzai.

The Taliban recently announced a ban on women's beauty salons, one of the few public places still open to them.

The decision left about 60,000 women out of work, sources told The National at the time.

Girls over the age of 12 are no longer allowed to attend school or university, and all women are banned from working for the government.

In December, women were banned from working in NGOs, prompting the UN to say it would reconsider its presence in the country.

The ban has plunged millions into poverty with aid agencies suspending operations and cutting off funds to the Taliban, which remain internationally unrecognised.

Only five out of 15 million in need will receive food assistance from the World Food Programme this month, the UN said in its latest humanitarian update, while 100,000 in eastern regions will have no access to basic healthcare services following the closure of mobile health teams.

Updated: July 13, 2023, 8:24 PM