Counter-Terrorism: Gassing Girls For God

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May 13, 2009: Recently, some Taliban in Afghanistan poisoned fifty girls who were attending schools. Apparently the attackers used a high concentration of insecticide. Earlier in the year, several female students were disfigured by acid, thrown at them by Taliban attackers. The Taliban have burned down dozens of girls schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and intimidate teachers and students to stay away. Some teachers have been killed as well, for not taking this advice.

One of the common beliefs among Islamic conservatives, especially the Taliban, is belief that education for women is forbidden. Currently, over 70 percent of Afghans are illiterate. But that varies greatly by gender. Some 44 percent of men are literate, but only about 14 percent of women. Many Afghan men want to keep it that way, and the Taliban have used that to cultivate support.

The Taliban insist that only religious schools, that teach mainly religion (namely their hard core brand of conservative Islam) should be allowed. State schools are also hated because they let girls attend. This is a big no-no to the Taliban. Most Afghans disagree. Outside of southern Afghanistan, 40 percent of students are girls. But in the south, the Taliban have prevented 300,000 children from attending school. That's about ten percent of the national school population. The Taliban threaten teachers with death, and burn down school buildings when they have the opportunity. This plays well to the Taliban core supporters, but these are only a small percentage of the south Afghan population. Most of the people down there are enraged at the school closings.

 

 


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