Paktia girls vow to continue fight for education

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PAKTIA: Young girls in southeastern Paktia promise to continue their struggles and pressures until they get their just right to education. 
Following a recent protest by girl students demanding opening up of their schools in Paktia, the Taliban arrested Sohaila, a teacher at Pirano school, and Najiba, a teacher at Shah Qambar school, on September 9. 
Fatima (pseudonym), Sohaila’s friend, told Afghan Peace Watch (APW) that the female teachers were arrested over charges of being complicit in opening up girls’ schools. Currently, Sohaila is imprisoned by the Taliban. 
She acknowledged cultural restrictions in Paktia, adding, however, that no one opposed education for their sisters, daughters, or wives. According to her, the Taliban Minister of Education was lying when he said people didn’t send their daughters to school. “It’s actually the Taliban fighters using their guns to obstruct girls’ education.” 
Fatima questioned the Taliban’s pretext: “Is it okay for girls to be imprisoned with the Taliban, but it is not legitimate to attend schools? We will continue to fight for our rights.” 
This comes as a week back, girls’ schools reopened in Paktia, including in the provincial capital Gardez, through tribal mediation. The Taliban called it an arbitrary act and arrested some people responsible for the move. 
The Taliban’s intelligence threatens those interested in girls’ education with death, some Taliban insider sources confided to APW
Since the past year, the Taliban have shut down girls’ schools, citing curriculum problems. Meanwhile, the Taliban minister of education accused the Uruzgan people of not letting their 16-year-old females attend school. Uruzganis vehemently rejected the accusation.