Girls' Education Under Attack in Northwestern Pakistan

Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released their “Education under Attack” report, in which they have experts discuss the incidence of politically and ideologically motivated attacks on teachers, students and school buildings throughout the world. The report includes both a case study and a country report on Pakistan, both of which paint a stark picture of the impact of the Taliban on education in northwestern Pakistan.

Young girls and men queue separately for cooked rations in Jalala camp, Pakistan, 17 May 2009. Copyright Amnesty International

Young girls and men queue separately for cooked rations in Jalala camp, Pakistan, 17 May 2009. Copyright UNHCR/H. Caux

The report tells us that between 2007 and March 2009, 108 schools were fully destroyed, an additional 64 were partially damaged, and 40,000 children, including 23,000 girls, were deprived of their education. This is occurring in the context of a ruthless campaign by the Taliban against girls’ education, which is part of a larger campaign to impose their strict social rules and norms on the people of Northwestern Pakistan. As UNESCO’s report clearly states, “The Taliban in Swat Valley, Pakistan, left no ambiguity about their intent to target girls’ education.”

As the Pakistani military celebrates the recent capture of several key Taliban leaders, it is important to remember the impact of the conflict between Taliban armed groups and the Pakistani military in the region on civilians. Clearly, the Taliban have been the cause of countless human rights abuses against civilians, including attacks on education. But any government military strategy aimed at countering the Taliban must place human rights concerns at the forefront.

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11 thoughts on “Girls' Education Under Attack in Northwestern Pakistan

  1. I have grave concerns about President Obama considering doing business with the Taliban for this very reason.

  2. Wow, this is 2010, not the Stone Ages. If thost Taliban men were educated at all, they might prefer having rich, intellectual discussions with their wives who could also be working and contributing to the family's financial growth. It doesn't sound like these men are very educated themselves.

  3. I have grave concerns about President Obama considering doing business with the Taliban for this very reason.

  4. Wow, this is 2010, not the Stone Ages. If thost Taliban men were educated at all, they might prefer having rich, intellectual discussions with their wives who could also be working and contributing to the family’s financial growth. It doesn’t sound like these men are very educated themselves.

  5. They do this to keep people ignorant. Keep the people ignorant and they won't struggle toward change. If you put your thumb on a thing and it struggles – it can wriggle out.

  6. They do this to keep people ignorant. Keep the people ignorant and they won’t struggle toward change. If you put your thumb on a thing and it struggles – it can wriggle out.

  7. the problem is, they ARE educated men with an archaic mindset. they just learn from family example over generations of beating, abusing, their wives and children. the hate has to stop.

  8. the problem is, they ARE educated men with an archaic mindset. they just learn from family example over generations of beating, abusing, their wives and children. the hate has to stop.

  9. Pingback: Wrong Strategy? Pakistan Not Smart to Hit Civilians | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog

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  11. well of course….in order to keep power you have to keep the masses uneducated so that they don't understand or know what's happening and don't have the intellectual means to stand against you. this is very sad.I hope something can be done to stop this.