In March, the Taliban girls from attending middle and high school.
Insider recently spoke to two teen girls in Kandahar who had been impacted by the decision.
They said they have little hope of the Taliban letting them return to school.
When the Taliban announced last month that schools for girls would finally reopen in Afghanistan, 16-year-old Laura* was excited to get back to studying her favorite subjects: math and chemistry.
But when she showed up her school in the Kandahar region on March 23, she learned that she and all other middle and high school-aged girls across the country would not be permitted to resume their studies, as the Taliban had promised.
She said she and her classmates were deflated when they showed up to school last month and learned they wouldn't be allowed back.
"Upon hearing the news, we lost all of our hopes, all of our dreams," Laura said. "We knew that there was no hope for a future and all of us got emotional. We started crying and we knew our future was no longer in our own hands."
The Taliban has faced international scorn for their sudden reversal on girls' education. Just days after the decision was announced, the US cancelled planned talks with the Taliban in Qatar, and issued a joint statement with the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK, expressing "condemnation" of the decision.
"Every Afghan citizen, boy or girl, man or woman, has an equal right to an education at all levels, in all provinces of the country," the statement read.
In the wake of decision, Insider spoke to two girls in the country who had been impacted by the sudden ban on girls secondary education. Laura and 19-year-old Emily* are both from the Kandahar region. Laura was in her last year of high school, while Emily was about to start 10th grade before the school closure. Both had dreams of going to college and studying to become doctors and expressed a desire to give back to their community.
Though some have suggested that the Taliban may be trying to use girls education as a bargaining chip to get international recognition, and that girls will eventually be allowed to go back to school, neither Laura and Emily are banking on that outcome.
Emily said that after learning she would not be allowed to go back to school she "kind of accepted" that her education was over.
While Laura has continued to study at home, Emily says she hasn't picked up a book since the Taliban took power.
"I'm pretty much just at home, cooking and cleaning and doing house chores now," Emily said.
"My heart doesn't allow me to pick up any book because I know I can't complete my studies."
Emily says the thing she misses most about school was the routine and getting to socialize with friends.
"Even after these many months, I wake up in the morning sometimes and I get this feeling that I need to get ready to go to school because that had been my routine for so many years. And then I realize, wait, you can't go, and I sit hopelessly, accepting the new reality that I'm no longer able to continue the routine of going to school everyday anymore."
The Taliban's decision has also weighed heavily on Emily's mother, who was a girl when the Taliban first rose to power in the 1990s. She was never educated herself, but was committed to making sure her children got the opportunities she was denied.
"When my kids were school-age, I hoped they would have a future different than mine. I was very happy seeing them go to school every day," Emily's mother said of her children. "With this decision, my hopes and dreams are shattered. This is a bad decision, I'm very sad with this decision."
Laura says it's become her new dream to leave the country so that she might continue her education abroad.
"It is my high desire to continue my education and if it means going outside of the country to be able to fulfill that dream, that is my biggest hope right now," she said.
In addition to international outrage, the Taliban has also faced blow-back over the decision at home, where more than two dozen women and girls took part in a protest outside of the Ministry of Education on March 26.
Laura and Emily say they haven't seen any protests in Kandahar, but would take part if given the opportunity.
Laura did admit to being concerned about how the Taliban would react if she took part in a protest.
"I would be afraid," she said. "The reason we are afraid of the Taliban is because they do not respect women, they don't give women the honor that women have and deserve. Many women in Kandahar are extremely afraid of raising their voice because of the fear that the Taliban may come back and punish them afterwards."
Emily was less concerned with whether she might invoke the fury of the Taliban by protesting.
When asked if she was concerned about Taliban reprisals, she laughed and said, "I'm not afraid of them."
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the girls.
Read the original article on Insider