Report | 2023

Executive Summary

This month, Afghanistan’s schools opened for the start of a new academic year, but Afghan girls remain excluded from the classroom. The Taliban’s ban on girls’ education has lasted over a year and its implications are dire. Without the promise of a secondary education, increases in forced child marriage, gender-based violence, and depression disproportionately affect Afghan women and girls. There is no simple solution or replacement for in-person schooling. However, in this critical moment, the international community must identify, fund, and monitor alternative pathways to education for Afghan girls while continuing to advocate for a reversal of the ban.

Afghan experts, international partners, diplomats and leading policymakers identified the following calls to action for the international community:

  1. Pursue the restoration of formal education by pressuring the Taliban through measures like visa restrictions.
  2. Emphasize that girls’ education is an integral component of Islam in ongoing dialogues with Taliban officials. Regional and Muslim-majority countries should use their meetings with Taliban officials to call for the reversal of anti-women policies that are contrary to Islam.
  3. Support alternative educational models, including online and offline learning systems, to reach a wider range of Afghan students until formation education is restored.
  4. Invest in Afghan-led educational initiatives and fund local organizations that are providing educational services to Afghan women and girls because of the ban on formal education.
  5. Facilitate collaboration among international organizations, neighboring countries, and universities to help Afghan girls access international educational opportunities, regardless of immigration status.
  6. Collect and analyze data to identify limitations and trends in pathways to education, assess program quality, and monitor the effectiveness of interventions.
  7. Connect Afghan women to donors through private sector outreach and existing partnerships to spotlight Afghan-led educational solutions, reinvigorate donors’ commitment to Afghan women and girls, and combat growing donor apathy.
  8. Integrate counseling as a component of any educational programming to address the widespread mental health crisis.

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