The Taliban have freed an Afghan activist who campaigned for the education of girls. Matiullah Wesa was arrested seven months ago. Wesa has been outspoken in his demands for girls to have the right to go to school. He has repeatedly called on the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan to reverse its bans on female education.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education. Since their takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban have barred girls from school beyond the sixth grade. Last December, they banned women from going to universities.
After his release, Wesa thanked his friends for their support and vowed to continue his work. He tweeted, “Our hopes and goals will not change, nor will they be broken; we will continue our charitable services.”
Wesa’s brother, Ataullah, challenged the seven-month detention. He said, “Why is a person arrested if he is working for the basic rights of a nation or generation? He is not guilty; He did not commit any crime.”
Ataullah refused to comment on his brother’s treatment in prison and said it was his social and civic responsibility to continue working in the education field.
Amnesty International said that Wesa should never have been jailed for promoting girls’ rights to education. They tweeted, “The Taliban authorities must release human rights defenders and women protesters Rasool Parsi, Neda Parwani, Zholia Parsi, Manizha Sediqi and all others who are unfairly kept behind bars for standing up for equality and denouncing repression.”
Prior to his arrest, Wesa launched a door-to-door campaign to promote girls’ education. He has been volunteering for 14 years to reach people and convey the message of girls’ education. During the past 18 months, he campaigned house-to-house in order to eliminate illiteracy and end all the miseries.
The Taliban forces surrounded Wesa’s family home in late March, beat family members, and confiscated Matiullah’s cellphone.