The Girls of the Taliban
A new wave of privately run madrasas are opening across Afghanistan, igniting fears amongst women’s rights groups that their already limited freedoms are again under threat.


Kunduz in northern Afghanistan is the country's fifth largest city and home to more than 300,000 people.

It was once a Taliban stronghold where women were deprived of their basic rights and education for girls was prohibited.

Today, particularly in towns and cities, women can go outside without their husbands or fathers, they can work, and girls can attend school and even university.

But with a new wave of privately run madrasas - or religious schools - being opened across the country, there is a growing feeling among women's rights groups that these freedoms are again under threat.

Arguably the most controversial of these madrasas is Ashraf-ul Madares in Kunduz, founded by two local senior clerics, where 6,000 girls study full time.

The founders say the goal of the madrasa is to help young women achieve their full potential by understanding the history and basic teachings of Islam. They say they are providing badly needed religious education.

The girls are taught by male teachers, who they are forbidden from meeting face-to-face, and full hijab must be worn.

There are now 1,300 unregistered madrasas in Afghanistan, where children are given only religious teaching. This is increasing fears among those involved in mainstream education.

In The Girls of the Taliban, our cameras gain unprecedented access to film inside this madrasa, to meet with the girls and their families and to question the men behind it.