Malala urges world leaders to take urgent action on Afghanistan

Published August 17, 2021
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai poses for photographs during the Education and Development G7 Ministers Summit in Paris on July 5, 2019. — Reuters
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai poses for photographs during the Education and Development G7 Ministers Summit in Paris on July 5, 2019. — Reuters

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said she was deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the safety of women and girls, and called on Monday for world leaders to take urgent action.

Yousafzai said US President Joe Biden “has a lot to do” and must “take a bold step” to protect the Afghan people, adding she had been trying to reach out to several global leaders.

“This is actually an urgent humanitarian crisis right now that we need to provide our help and support,” Yousafzai told BBC's Newsnight.

Yousafzai, 23, survived being shot in the head by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants in 2012, after she was targeted for her campaign against its efforts to deny women education.

She had become known as an 11-year-old, writing a blog under a pen name for the BBC about living under the rule of the militants.

“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan right now, especially about the safety of women and girls there,” Yousafzai told Newsnight.

“I had the opportunity to talk to a few activists in Afghanistan, including women's rights activists, and they are sharing their concern that they are not sure what their life is going to be like.”

Yousafzai said she had sent a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan asking him to admit Afghan refugees and ensure that all refugee children “have access to education, have access to safety and protection, that their futures are not lost”.

A day earlier, Yousafzai and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had spoken on the phone during which the minister said Pakistan would continue supporting endeavours for women's education in Afghanistan.

According to Radio Pakistan, the minister said that Pakistan was providing educational facilities to the children of Afghan refugees. He said that 6,000 Afghan children were currently studying in the country.

During the call, Yousafzai informed the minister about global concerns regarding women's rights in Afghanistan. "Pakistan should play an active role in promoting women's education in Afghanistan," she said.

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