NEW DELHI: A UN official on Monday claimed that some Taliban leaders, who have issued fatwas against girls’ education during their rule in Afghanistan, have themselves sent their female children to schools, the Times of India reported.
According to the report, the Unicef representative in Afghanistan from 1998 to 2001 Louis-Georges Arsenault claimed that the Taliban had issued fatwa against girls’ education during their regime (1996 to 2001) as the group feared that “movement” of women and girls on the streets would “distract the focus” of their fighters from their “task “.
Arsenault, who took over as Unicef India representative a couple of months ago, made these remarks while addressing the National Consultation on Education in Areas Affected by Civil Strife in Delhi.
The then Unicef representative in Afghanistan said that top Taliban officials had “openly” told UN officials who were talking to them at that point of time that the fatwa was issued because they needed their troops to focus the task ahead and not be distracted by the movement of women and girls. Despite the diktat, some NGOs, community leaders and teachers were secretly providing some kind of education to the children in some parts of the country.
The Unicef too, Arsenault said, went about quietly, and without attracting media attention, in working on school education in collaboration with these segments of population and taking expertise from Government officials and academicians.
“Some of the Taliban fighters were sending their girls in schools anyway,” said Arsenault, who is credited with managing one of Unicef’s largest humanitarian operations, including the coordination of relief and rehabilitation services to over 250,000 women, children and men displaced by Afghan conflict.
According to the Unicef, Arsenault, despite Taliban’s edicts against girls’ education, initiated several projects to arrange private schooling for them.