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Female students across Afghanistan were crushed by news that their return to senior schools was to be postponed by the Taliban on March 23. The future of young women at institutions such as the Edrak Institute of Higher Education (pictured) remains bleak. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/UN Women)
The Big Story

Dark futures: Afghanistan's women reel from Taliban school ban

U-turn on female education jeopardizes international legitimacy and economic recovery

KANIKA GUPTA and SARA PERRIA, Contributing writers | Afghanistan

KABUL -- Anbaren, a bold and ambitious 16-year-old, was born in what was an age of optimism for Afghanistan. Her life plans were neatly organized, just like the bedroom she shares with her older sister. Following a rigorous schedule of school and extracurricular classes to prepare for the exams required to enter public universities, she had dreams to study computer science in Washington D.C. with her best friend.

But last Aug. 15, Anbaren's life was put on hold, as the Taliban rolled into Kabul, white flags fluttering from their pickup trucks and toting Kalashnikovs. Her best friend left the country, leaving Anbaren staring at an uncertain future. She has been unable to leave home due to increasing hostility toward women on the streets.

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