Taliban spokesperson admits sending daughters to school despite female education ban in Afghanistan

Many Taliban members have educated their daughters both overseas and in Afghanistan.

Matthias Ang | May 13, 2022, 11:54 PM

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Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has admitted in an interview with British television personality Piers Morgan that both his daughters go to school.

A clip of the heated exchange was posted on Twitter on May 11, in which Morgan asked Shaheen, "Just for the record, you have two daughters, do they go to school?"

To which Shaheen replied, "Of course, yes. They are observing hijab, and that means we have not denied for our people."

Morgan also pointed out during Shaheen's answer that both of his daughters go to school in Doha, Qatar.

He subsequently ended the interview with Shaheen by saying, "So your daughters get an education because they do what you tell them. I'm glad we clarified that."

Previously in March, the Taliban reversed a decision to allow girls to attend secondary schools a few hours after the schools were re-opened.

That reversal has remained in force with the European Union criticising the Taliban for not listening to the Afghan people, according to AFP.

Many of the Taliban members have educated their daughters

Sources that were familiar with the Taliban told Indian digital media The Print that Shaheen's daughters study in state-regulated schools in Doha along with his three sons.

In addition, his older daughter reportedly played football for her school team.

According to a report by the non-profit policy research organisation, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), a majority of the Taliban's leadership who have lived in Doha for the past two years have enrolled their daughters in school.

An unnamed Taliban official, described as "a member of the political office and Taliban’s negotiating team whose two daughters studied in a Qatari school" was quoted by AAN as saying:

"We lived for three years not much bothered by education, but since everybody in the neighbourhood was going to school, our children demanded that they go to school too. So, in the fourth year, I had to send my three sons and two daughters to school."

The report also noted that many Taliban members living in Pakistan have enrolled their daughters in Iqra schools, where they were taught a mix of both modern school subjects and madrasa subjects.

There are also some Taliban officials who secretly enrolled their daughters in Afghan schools and universities, prior to the group's takeover of the country.

Taliban members who supposedly support female education are in the minority

The Print also noted that Shaheen himself is supposedly part of a group of Taliban members who have spoken in favour of female education.

However, this group is a minority that has faced resistance from traditionalists in the Taliban, such as its supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Chief Justice, Abdul Hakim, and the Minister of Religious Affairs, Nur Muhammad Saqeb.

Conservatives in the group have also expressed their concern about issues of morality such as men teaching women, and the dress code of females.

List of restrictions on Afghan women continue to grow

In the meantime, new restrictions have been imposed on the Afghan public, with women particularly affected.

On May 7, the Taliban ordered all women to cover their faces in public, with the burqa listed as the ideal covering for women to assume, the Financial Times reported.

Women are also only allowed to leave the home "when necessary", with male relatives liable for punishment.

Subsequently on May 12, the Taliban announced that it is now forbidden for men or women to eat out or stroll together in parks within the city of Herat, Aljazeera further reported.

Women can only visit the parks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while men are only allowed into the parks on all other days.

Both men and women must also be segregated when dining in restaurants.

Early in April, the Taliban banned TikTok on the grounds of "filthy content" misleading the younger generation.

In January, women in the country's northern provinces were banned from using public bathhouses.

The same month also saw the Taliban order shop owners to behead mannequins on the grounds that figures representing the human form contravene Islamic laws.

On Dec. 26, 2021, the Taliban issued a directive for women in Afghanistan, saying that if they intend to travel long distances -- more than 72km -- they should only be offered transport if they are accompanied by a male relative.

In addition to that, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice urged vehicle owners to refuse women who do not wear head or face coverings.

Music of any kind is also banned in vehicles.

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Top screenshot via Piers Morgan Uncensored Twitter