chapter  9
25 Pages

Education, Violence and Schools: The Human Security of Girls in Afghanistan

ByRev. Chloe Breyer

According to the 10 July 2006 Human Right’s Watch Report titled ‘Lessons in Terror: Attacks on Education in Afghanistan’ there were 204 attacks on teachers, students and schools in the 18 months from January 2005-21 June 2006 (Human Rights Watch 2006) and later, from March 2007-October 2008, 254 students and teachers were killed by insurgents and 220 schools were attacked (Human Rights Watch 2009). The 2006 Human Rights Watch Report describes schools in the Southern and Eastern part of Afghanistan as being ‘on the front line’ of a resurgence of violent internal confl ict in that country led by a variety of former and recently recruited Taliban trained in Pakistan, local warlords and drug criminals. A key recommendation of the Report was that the ability of children to attend school safely should be an important benchmark of the success of security forces in Afghanistan — whether they be NATO-led international forces or the Afghan National Army. The Report states,

In recognizing the basic right to education established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNHCR),1 the 2006 Human Rights Watch Report takes a step towards endorsing the gender-inclusive concept of ‘human security’ around which the contributions in the volume are constructed2 (Reardon 2003). It stops short, however, of fully embracing the principals of human security. While deploring the shortsighted way militarized security has been measured in Afghanistan — through troop numbers rather than school attendance — the HRW Report assumes that adequate military protection — Afghan, NATO or US-led — is the key factor in ensuring access to basic education. The HRW Report adheres to a traditional realist view espousing a military approach to confl ict prevention. Indeed, the Report’s recommendations are directed towards military leaders and policy makers in Afghanistan, the US and Europe, tasked with overseeing a transition of responsibility for militarized security in southern Afghanistan from US-led Coalition Forces to NATO in the summer of 2006. The Report makes little reference to the genderbased discrimination at play in the situation.