Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai fears Taliban will keep girls out of school

LONDON (AFP) – Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on Sunday (Nov 14) said she was concerned that the Taliban’s block on girls’ education in Afghanistan will not be temporary, as claimed.

Ma Yousafzai, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “I’m afraid that this ban that they have announced right now that they’re calling temporary might not actually be temporary”.

A similar ban in 1996 “lasted for five years”, she pointed out.

After seizing power in August, the hardline Islamist Taliban in September excluded girls from returning to secondary school while ordering boys back to class.

The Taliban have claimed they will allow girls to return once they have ensured security and stricter segregation under their interpretation of Islamic law – but many are sceptical.

“We’re calling on the Taliban to immediately allow girls to have access to their complete education, we’re calling on G-20 leaders and other world leaders to ensure that girls’ rights are protected in Afghanistan,” Ms Yousafzai said.

The 24-year-old activist, who revealed on Twitter last week that she had tied the knot with partner Asser Malik, sent an open letter last month calling for the ban to be reversed.

When she was 15, Ms Yousafzai was shot in the head by militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban, in her home town in the Swat valley while on a school bus.

She recovered after months of treatment at home and abroad before co-writing a best-selling memoir titled “I am Malala”.

Ms Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a 17-year-old in 2014, sharing the award with Mr Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India.

She graduated last year from the University of Oxford with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

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