A directive from the director of education in the capital, Kabul, which banned Afghan girls older than 12 from singing in public has been widely criticised on social media, prompting the education ministry to investigate.
The Kabul statement banned girls 12 years and older from singing at school functions, and also banned older girls from having male music teachers. The education ministry says the imposed ban does not reflect its own position and may take disciplinary action.
The hashtag #IAmMySong is gaining traction on Twitter as girls shared clips of themselves singing their favourite tunes while calling for petitions to oppose the directive.
The ban, announced several days ago, sparked criticism on social media, with literary figures and campaigners saying it was a backward step in educational rights just like when the country was under the rule of the Taliban.
“Forgive us God, human beings can be so cruel that they see even a child from a gender-based perspective,” tweeted author and poet Shafiqa Khpalwak, one of the country’s best known female writers.
Some women compared it to life under the Taliban – who were ousted in 2001 – when girls were banned from going to school and most music was forbidden.
“This is Talibanisation from inside the republic,” Sima Samar, an Afghan human rights activist of nearly 40 years, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
The Afghan government is currently under pressure to forge a peace deal with the Taliban, and although many Afghan women want an end to the violence, they are worried about their future rights, correspondents say. (Source: BBC)