City of Knowledge (CKO), – formerly Promoting Women’s Capability by Education Center – is an education center for girls and women in Kabul, Afghanistan where women turn their pain to power. Rising in the face of four decades of war that has left a huge population of Afghan women illiterate and several generations of women deprived of education, City of Knowledge is an education center for girls and women that offers courses in Computers, Science, Literacy, Arts, English, and Women’s rights. Graduates go on to pursue university and the careers of their choice, becoming the future doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, artists, and technical experts of Afghanistan, and inspiring countless others to do the same.

“We want to thank V-Day and each and every person who is contributing to our center from each and every girl and their families. This center is a source of hope, light, struggle against darkness and brutality.”

Following is an update from the team at the City of Knowledge in Kabul:

City of Knowledge is going well. Hundreds of students attend different classes. Most of the students are in science class because through science subjects they can get good marks and can enter to their desired programs in the university. Despite the fact that Kabul is under constant attack by the Taliban, several months ago, many of the students got their university results and were able to get into their programs of choice such as dentistry, law, engineering, economics, computer science, etc. In order to put pressure on the government, the Taliban make the lives of people so unbearable and bloody so they bow to the demands of the Taliban. Trump has also pressurized the Afghan government to start the peace talks and bring Taliban to power. He ordered the release of five thousands Taliban terrorists from prison as a part of this process. The same dark forces that the US invaded Afghanistan to fight against. The Taliban has been removed from black list and is whitewashed to be included in the Afghan government. Pakistan has a prominent role in this as the godfather of the Taliban. Pakistan is actively using Afghanistan against India to gain an upper hand in their decades long conflict. While the Taliban are sitting for peace talks in Qatar, they are attacking and killing people, especially youngsters, everyday to force the Afghan government to accept their demands. They are targeting education centers, schools, and universities. They are killing students to paralyze our society. On 2 November 2020 they attacked the Kabul University and massacred tens of students who had recently joined the university with thousands of dreams and wishes. They have, similarly, attacked some other education centers, particularly those attended by Hazaras, a minority ethnicity of our country1.

Besides the suicide attacks, bomb attacks and magnetic bombs that can go off at any time, some criminal gangs have also targeting people of Kabul. The Taliban are behind this one too. One of these gangs entered an education center recently and beat up girls and stole their belongings. Our own science teacher was badly beaten up by this gang when he was returning home after his classes.

We gave 3 weeks off when the Covid-19 pandemic hit its peak in Kabul but restarted soon after that. We have about 800 students who, despite the bleak situation, are coming to school with enthusiasm and dreams and wishes. The government recently closed down all universities and schools for some weeks due to security threats. However, the girls protested this decision and wanted us to continue because they had always faced this uncertain situation. They wanted to study despite all that. Our science teacher spoke to us and requested that we let them continue because the students would then be deprived of their university entrance exams and lose an entire year. We have taken many security precautions but it is impossible to stop suicide attackers because they will simply blow themselves up if they face any kind of resistance.

The situation is on high alert right now. It is a situation between life and death. On the one hand, Afghanistan is being pushed into death, destruction, attacks, ignorance, and misogyny by these neighboring countries whose aim is to bring back the Taliban and push us into the dark ages once again. On the other hand, there are all the people who want to live like these girls who want to attend their classes on the same day that an education center exactly like theirs was blown up killing tens of young students, and even when university students that they are striving to be, were massacred2. This is a dilemma between life and death, between hope and misery. This makes us very hopeful but it is also very stressful because we might go back under the rule of Taliban very soon. This shows that the 20 years of war on terror was a hoax. Today, terrorism and fundamentalism take life and spread terror even in the streets of France and other European countries.

We want to thank V-Day and each and every person who is contributing to our center from each and every girl and their families. This center is a source of hope, light, struggle against darkness and brutality. While we wanted to close the center for some days after the attack on Kabul University and an educational center, our science teacher refused to accept it and insisted to continue. He said, “I know what is happening but life goes on. We cannot stop our daily life and wait for our death.” This has very deep meaning in a country where death and danger has become a routine.

Following are some recent pictures from the City of Knowledge.

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“Kabul University attack: Students flee as gunmen storm Afghan campus” (BBC, 2 November 2020)
2 “Teens among 24 killed at Kabul education centre” (Al Jazeera, 24 October 2020)