The US Special Representative for Afghanistan said on Saturday he is hopeful that there will be a reversal of the Islamic Emirate’s u-turn on girls' education in the coming days.
“I am hopeful that we will see a reversal of this decision in the coming days" Thomas West, US special representative for Afghanistan, said at the Doha Forum.
West said the Islamic Emirate had made promises to allow girls and women to go to school. “I was surprised at the turnaround this past Wednesday and I think you've seen the world react in condemning this move," he said. “It is a breach, first and foremost, of the Afghan people's trust because they made the commitment.”
Meanwhile, Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani called on the Islamic Emirate to reconsider its decision and allow girls in the upper grades to go to school as soon as possible.
“We have been urging them to adopt the policy to stand up to their promises for the international community, to allow the girls to go back to school, to allow the women to their workplace. But, broader than that, to also have a government that is inclusive and without discriminating (toward) any part of the Afghan people. What has happened actually two days ago was a shock for us, we have expressed deeply our concern ... from the decision that has been taken, and we are urging them to reverse such a decision,” he said.
"They were waiting outside their schools, but the gates were closed, and they were crying," Malala Yousafzai said during a panel addressing prospects for women and girls in Afghanistan. "Why is it happening to them just because they're girls? Why can't they be studying? Why can't they be learning?" She added.
The United States abruptly cancelled meetings with the Islamic Emirate in Doha that were set to address key economic issues, officials said on Friday.
"Their decision was a deeply disappointing and inexplicable reversal of commitments to the Afghan people, first and foremost, and also to the international community," a US State Department spokesperson told Reuters.
Based the previous commitments and announcements by the Islamic Emirate, all girls’ schools were set to reopen on Wednesday. Girls beyond grade six, however, were not allowed to attend school on Wednesday and were told to wait until further notification.
This decision met sharp reactions from inside and outside Afghanistan.
In a joint statement on Friday, ten members of the UN Security Council called on the Islamic Emirate to reopen all girls’ schools across Afghanistan.
The joint statement was released by Albania, Brazil, France, Gabon, Ireland, Mexico, UK, US, Norway and UAE.
“Our message is clear: All girls in Afghanistan should be able to go to school,” the statement reads