Many young women in Afghanistan are determined to get an education, even when faced with potentially deadly attacks by members of the Taliban. This month, several girls were assaulted on their way to school in Kandahar City. The attackers threw acid on the girls' faces, and 3 were seriously injured.
In spite of the violence perpetrated against them, the Afghan girls will not be deterred from returning to school. One of the students burned by the acid said, "I will pursue my education. These type of insurgent activities won't stop me from getting my education." Another female student expressed similar determination. "I am not scared," she said, "I want to be a doctor, and if we don't come to school, then I'd have to stay home and do nothing."
First Lady Laura Bush condemned the assault against the female students. "The Taliban's continued terror attacks," said Mrs. Bush, "threaten the progress that has been made in Afghanistan." Under the Taliban's hardline Islamist regime, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, women were forbidden from attending school or even going outside. Women doctors were forbidden from practicing, and no woman was allowed to serve in political office.
But today, out from under Taliban oppression, Afghan women are attending school, running for political office, and serving as police officers. Afghanistan has more than 60 female judges and 400 female journalists. Women make up 28 percent of Afghanistan's parliament, and more than 6 million children, including 2 million girls, are now in school.
The United States and its allies are working with the government of Afghanistan to build more schools where children can learn, open additional roads so that commerce and grow, and provide basic healthcare for the Afghan people.
"These cowardly and shameful acts [committed by the Taliban against Afghan schoolgirls]," said First Lady Laura Bush, "are condemned by honorable people in the United States and around the world."