News Release

Women Advocates Call on the World Bank to Release Funds to Pay Afghan Teachers

As the World Bank holds its annual meeting, women’s rights advocates will hold a press conference calling on the Bank to release frozen Afghan funds to pay the salaries of women teachers and healthcare workers in Afghanistan. They have formed a new group called Unfreeze Afghanization. The news conference is at 10 a.m. ET this morning at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

They “are responding to an urgent appeal from the 45,000-member Teachers Association of Afghanistan on October 6, 2021 warning that the situation for teachers is dire,” as most have not been paid since June.

“The Ministry of Education has very few resources, and it is hard to ask our teachers to keep working without salaries. Many of them are the sole breadwinners in their families, and they are really struggling. It will be difficult to keep the schools open if we have no funds,” the Afghan teachers statement said.

Prominent women involved in the call to release frozen World Bank funds include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker; Jamila Safi, President of the Afghan Female Teachers Association; Toorpakai Momand, former Director of Female Education in Afghanistan; Sunita Mehta, co-founder of Women for Afghan Women and Sonali Kolhatkar, co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission. In addition, over 3,000 people have added their names to a petition hosted on the CODEPINK website.

The group notes that needed healthcare funding has been cut off as well.

After the Taliban took hold of Kabul, the new group notes the U.S. government “froze nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the country. The International Monetary Fund has frozen the distribution of more than $400 million destined for COVID relief and the World Bank is holding back hundreds of millions in the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund. Foreign aid to Afghanistan had previously been about $8.5 billion a year — nearly half of the country’s gross domestic product, and the freezing of funds has been disastrous for the Afghan people.”

The group calls on the Taliban “to re-open all schools for boys and girls throughout the country and calls on the international community to enable the re-opening and operation of these schools by releasing the frozen funds.”

See full statement here.
Contact: Ariel Gold, ariel@codepink.org
Medea Benjamin, medea@codepink.org, @codepink