Confined to their homes, excluded from work, murdered in classrooms—this is what faces Afghan women and girls. With inequality imposed everywhere, nowhere is safe. Friday’s suicide attack in Kabul killed or wounded many students who were simply taking an exam. The majority were young women.  

Education is a fundamental human right and a driving force for the advancement of social, economic, political, and cultural development, a vision agreed at the UN General Assembly’s recently concluded “Transforming Education Summit”. I join the UN Secretary-General in his call for the de facto authorities to protect the rights of all Afghans—regardless of ethnicity or gender—to access education safely and securely. I urge the de facto authorities to take immediate action to protect the full rights of Afghan women and girls and to hold perpetrators to account in line with international standards.