Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai in a meeting with US secretary of state Anthony Blinken on Monday called on the US to take action to ensure Afghan girls and women have access to education in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
The Pakistani activist said she had come to the US State Department to speak about “equality in girl’s education.” Introducing Malala before the meeting, Blinken described her as “an inspiration.” He said she’s someone “by her work, by her efforts, is making a real difference, particularly when it comes to access to education for girls and women.”
Malala who has been working with Afghan girls and activists since she began her foundation, shared a message of a 15-year-old Afghan girl named Sotodah with the secretary, which was addressed to President Joe Biden.
“She writes that the longer schools and universities remain closed to girls, the more it will shade hope for our future phase. Girls’ education is a powerful tool for bringing peace and security. If girls don’t learn, Afghanistan will suffer, too. As a girl and as a human being, I need you to know that I have rights. Women and girls have rights. Afghans have the right to live in peace, go to school, and play,” Malala read.
Since the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan in August, they have imposed restrictions on girl’s access to education. The “decree on women’s rights,” released by the group includes rules on marriage and property for women, but it doesn’t say anything about employment or education.
The 24-year-old activist urged the US and the UN to take immediate actions to ensure that girls are allowed to go back to their schools as soon as possible, women are able to go back to work, and all the humanitarian assistance that is needed for education there is provided.
“So this is the message of Afghan girls right now, and we want to see a world where all girls can have access to safe and quality education,” she added.