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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Conor Powell

Afghanistan

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Taliban May Lift Ban on Education for Women

January 14, 2011 - 2:49 PM | by: Conor Powell

Taliban attacks on school aged girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a regular occurrence.

However, according to Afghanistan’s Education Minster Farooq Wardak, Taliban leaders are willing to lift a ban on girl’s schools and female education.

Wardak told Times Educational Supplement, a British newspaper, that the Taliban as undergone a profound  “cultural change” since losing power in 2001 and is now willing to allow young women the opportunity to receive an education.

“What I am hearing at the very upper policy level of the Taliban,” Wardack told the TES, “is that they are no more opposing education and also girls’ education.”

If true, the change would be likely welcomed by many in Afghanistan and Pakistan – where millions of young girls now enrolled in school.

Unfortunately, no one from the Taliban as ever voiced a similar position and recent events make Minister Wardak’s statement seem unbelievable.

Militants regularly attack girls’ schools across Afghanistan and in Western Pakistan. Just last week in Peshawar, a violent Pakistani city near the shared border, the Taliban killed two female teachers.

During the past year, Afghan officials have tried to start negotiations with Taliban leaders in an effort to find a political situation to the current conflict – even meeting with insurgents in Dubai and the Maldives.

But those close to the talks admit very little progress has been made due to a lack of trust between insurgents and the Afghan government, and because neither side seems willing to give an inch.

If Taliban leaders truly have under gone an “attitudinal change,” as Minister Wardak suggests, and attacks on girls’ schools were to stop, it would represent a massive step forward in ending the current conflict.

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