President Biden has a “huge responsibility” towards the women of Afghanistan whose freedoms have been reined in under Taliban rule, Malala Yousafzai has said.
“I would definitely ask him to stand up and support the rights of women in Afghanistan and stand up for girls’ education. We cannot lose the gains that we have made over the past many, many years,” Yousafzai said in an interview to CBS Evening News on Tuesday.
She said the people of Afghanistan were facing a situation created by decisions of the United States and other countries. “So he [Biden] has a huge responsibility,” she said.
Malala mentioned that she was hearing from Afghan friends that girls were now afraid to attend school. “They had dreams, and they’re worried that they may not be able to sit in the classroom anymore. Women are worried about going to work. They are constantly under the surveillance, where people are watching them over how they act, how they speak, how they behave, what they wear, how they’re dressed and their rights are denied to them,” she said.
Malala said the Taliban were afraid of women and girls being educated. “They know that Islam allows them the same rights as men. If these women are educated, then they can challenge them and they can tell them that you cannot say this to us,” she said. “Enlightenment is dangerous to the ideology of the Taliban or any other extremist group that is out there.”
Yousafzai said she wanted Afghan girls to know that their voices can be powerful.
“They must believe in their voice,” she said. “This is about your future. This is about your dignity. This is about your human rights and your voice is very much needed in this moment.”
Malala added that US military presence in Afghanistan was not a viable solution for peace.
“This is a lesson that must be learned from these 20 years of war on terror — that the American troops, NATO troops were there for 20 years and still the Taliban are back in power,” she said. “It is more an ideological fight, and we can only fight against indoctrination and against extremist ideology through enlightening education.”