A new report by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) reports that armed opposition groups and political parties are seeking to embed themselves high schools around the country in order to extend their influence and recruit among Afghan youths.
Research indicates that militant groups such as the Taliban, Jundallah, Hizb-e-Islami and Hizb ut-Tahrir are all already active in recruiting students from Afghan schools to join their ranks.
“The survey covers 136 schools in 18 provinces and 431 teachers and students were interviewed,” AREU deputy Mir Ahmad Joyenda said of the research methodology.
According to AREU’s findings, dissatisfaction with the Afghan government and lack of equitable social services provision were among the main factors pushing young Afghans in school to take up arms with militant groups.
“We found that the right-wing extremist ideologies associated with Hizb-e-Islami are seeing increased activism,” Joyenda said. “Besides that, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamiat-e-Islah, Taliban Jundallah have also infiltrated schools.”
In response to the AREU report, the Afghan Ministry of Educaiton (MoE) has said that no group or political party will be permitted to intervene in schools for political purposes.
“We do not allow teachers to involve students in political activity inside the schools either, because educational departments are non-political and non-military organs,” MoE spokesman Mahmoud Haqmal told TOLOnews. “But when it comes to the issue of who students and which teachers interact with, it is then a part of Afghan society. After official time, undoubtedly anyone could have a relations outside of school.”