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Women, Peace, and Security Caucus

Women, Peace, and Security Caucus Co-Chairs Frankel, Waltz Statement on Taliban’s Order to Shut Down Girls’ High Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Caucus Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21) and Michael Waltz (FL-06) released the following statement in response to the Taliban’s order that girls’ high schools in Afghanistan be shut down.

“The Taliban’s refusal to reopen girls’ high schools threatens the future for millions of Afghan girls, and the future of the country itself. Where women are repressed, societies are worse off,” said Rep. Frankel. “I am moved by the bravery of the young women in Kabul who marched for their right to an education over the weekend. They understand that when women and girls are given access to education and economic opportunity, their families, communities, and our world are more peaceful and more prosperous. That’s why it is critically important for Congress to pass the Keeping Girls in School Act to ensure girls in Afghanistan, and around the globe, get access to the quality secondary education they need to empower themselves and their countries, making us all safer and better off.”

“A new generation of Afghan girls will be robbed of an education because of the Taliban’s decision to bar girls from receiving a secondary education. Afghanistan had made great strides over the years promoting women's education through investments in institutions like the American University of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban has undercut such progress and once again shown that what frightens extremists the most is a girl with a book. This decision exposed the Taliban’s cruelty and indifference to the future of Afghan society. Congress must pass the Keeping Girls in School Act to better ensure girls in Afghanistan and around the world can access the education they deserve,” said Rep. Waltz.

The Keeping Girls in School Act is dedicated to closing the global gender gap and keeping girls in school when they are most at risk of dropping out. It will advance access to quality secondary education by reducing the barriers preventing girls from accessing or staying in school, including child marriage, religious or ethnic discrimination, female genital mutilation, and poor safety when traveling to and from school.

The Taliban’s order came after a previous announcement that all schools, including girls’ high schools, would reopen at the start of the spring semester. Two days after opening, the Taliban went back on this promise and shut down the majority of girls’ high schools across the country. Over the weekend, dozens of women and girls protested in front of the Taliban’s Ministry of Education against the decision to shut the schools.