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I fear for my Afghan sisters, says Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai

 

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has expressed fear for women and girls in Afghanistan as the Taliban has once again taken control of the war-torn country after 20 years of US military operations.

"The Taliban - who until losing power 20 years ago barred nearly all girls and women from attending school and doled out harsh punishment to those who defied them - are back in control. Like many women, I fear for my Afghan sisters," Malala wrote in an op-ed published in New York Times on August 17.

"I cannot help but think of my own childhood. When the Taliban took over my hometown in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and shortly thereafter banned girls from getting an education, I hid my books under my long, hefty shawl and walked to school in fear. Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban tried to kill me for speaking out about my right to go to school,'' she wrote in the NYT op-ed.

Malala Yousafzai added, "In the last two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Now the future they were promised is dangerously close to slipping away."

“We will have time to debate what went wrong in the war in Afghanistan, but in this critical moment, we must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls. They are asking for protection, for education, for the freedom and the future they were promised. We cannot continue to fail them. We have no time to spare," Malala also said.

Interestingly, striking a conciliatory tone this time, the Taliban has vowed to "respect women`s rights" in the country.

Raising skepticism of the Taliban’s vow, Yousafzai wrote in New York Times, "Taliban`s history of violently suppressing women`s rights, Afghan women`s fears are real. Already, we are hearing reports of female students being turned away from their universities, female workers from their offices."

Yousafzai, long an advocate for girls` education, survived a Pakistani Taliban assassination attempt when she was just 15 years old when they shot her in the head.

Since then, the Oxford graduate has become a global figure promoting education for girls. The terror group took control over Afghanistan on Sunday after entering the presidential palace in Kabul. 

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