Malala Yousafzai urges world leaders to ensure the futures of Afghan girls 'are not lost'

Malala Yousafzai.
(Image credit: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

With the Taliban now in control of Afghanistan, Malala Yousafzai is urging world leaders to "take bold stances for the protection of women and girls, for the protection of minority groups, and for peace and stability in that region."

During an interview Monday with BBC News, Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and Nobel peace laureate, called the images showing people trying to flee from Afghanistan by holding onto military planes "shocking" and proof that "this is actually an urgent humanitarian crisis right now." Every country has a "role and responsibility" to open their borders to Afghan refugees, Yousafzai said, and she has sent a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking him to welcome displaced people.

When the Taliban previously ruled Afghanistan, women were banned from attending schools, could not go out unless covered by a burqa and accompanied by a male relative, and were not allowed to hold most jobs. In 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai, then 15, in the head because of her campaign to educate girls in Pakistan's Swat Valley. She told BBC News the world cannot move backwards, and it's important the countries that let in Afghan refugees ensure children have access to education and "that their futures are not lost."

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