Afghanistan’s top high school graduate fears for her future



Salgy Baran received the very best rating in all of Afghanistan on her college entrance exams this 12 months, however she has no solutions for what comes subsequent.

The 18-year-old desires to remain and turn out to be a physician, however as with so many different Afghans, these plans had been plunged into doubt when the Taliban rolled into the capital of Kabul earlier this month, capping their gorgeous takeover of the nation.

Taliban leaders say ladies and women will be capable of attend faculty and work in accordance with Islamic legislation — with out offering specifics — at the same time as different distinguished members of the militant group have sneered on the concept of coed school rooms and hinted at extra reactionary measures.

“I’m not afraid proper now, however I’m involved about my future,” Baran instructed The Related Press in a video interview from Kabul. “Will they permit me to get an training or not?”

The Taliban say the mass evacuation of foreigners and Afghans petrified of their rule should finish on Aug. 31, the date the U.S. set for withdrawing its final troops after 20 years of warfare. They’ve accused Western international locations of luring away docs, engineers and different professionals whose expertise might be wanted to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

If that is the case, they need to hope Baran stays.

She grew up in a middle-class household in rural, jap Afghanistan, the place medical care continues to be missing regardless of twenty years of worldwide improvement help. When she was 7, her diabetic father died after a physician gave him an overdose of insulin, she stated.

That made her need to be the type of physician who would not make errors.

The household moved to Kabul in 2015, the place there are fewer social restrictions on ladies. Her household pooled their sources to help her research. They describe her as a quiet child who would spend lengthy hours studying and finding out math.

This 12 months’s exams — Afghanistan’s model of the SAT — had been held earlier than the takeover. She received the very best rating of anybody with in the nation, out of about 174,000 girls and boys, in keeping with the Nationwide Examination Authority. That secured her a spot on the Kabul College of Medical Sciences, the nation’s high faculty of medication.


A whole era of Afghan ladies have benefited from the Western-backed order established after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from energy.

When the militants final dominated the nation, ladies had been forbidden to attend faculty or work outdoors the house. They may solely go outdoors if accompanied by a male family member, and even then they needed to put on the all-encompassing burqa.

Progress since 2001 has been incremental and largely confined to city areas. The U.N. youngsters’s company estimates that 3.7 million Afghan youngsters are out of college, 60% of them women, and 17% of ladies are compelled into marriage earlier than their 15th birthday.

However on the eve of the Taliban takeover, women had been attending faculty, notably in Kabul and different cities, and ladies might be present in parliament, authorities and enterprise. Many worry the Taliban will roll again the clock.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, a Taliban official supervising larger training, stated ladies will be capable of proceed their research in “correct amenities,” with out elaborating. However one other Taliban official, Mohammad Khalid, addressing a convention of Muslim clerics earlier this week, expressed disgust on the concept of girls and boys finding out in the identical classroom.

Interpretations of Sharia, or Islamic legislation, differ broadly throughout the Muslim world, however in most international locations, ladies work and examine comparatively freely. The Taliban may merely require a Muslim scarf or insist on separate school rooms for girls and boys.

However nobody actually is aware of — not but.

Baran and her household don’t have any speedy plans to affix the exodus of Afghans, however they’re anxious about what comes subsequent.

“I had targets underneath the previous authorities, I had deliberate every thing out for a number of years,” she stated. “However underneath this authorities, I am unable to say something. Even tomorrow is unsure.”


Akhgar reported from Istanbul and Krauss from Jerusalem.


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