Washington: 8 December 2021: Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai speaks to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Treaty Room at the State Department in Washington where she urged stronger US support of Afghan girls and women .
"Afghanistan right now is the only country where girls do not have access to secondary education. They are prohibited from learning," the 24-year-old, who works with female Afghan activists, noted in remarks standing alongside Blinken.
"This is the message of Afghan girls right now: we want to see a world where all girls can have access to safe and quality education," she added, while presenting a letter addressed to President Joe Biden from a 15-year-old Afghan girl named Sotodah.
Sotodah wrote in her letter that "the longer schools and universities remain closed to girls, the more it will shade hope for [their] future," according to Yousafzai.
"Girls' education is a powerful tool for bringing peace and security," added Yousafzai, reading the letter, "If girls don't learn, Afghanistan will suffer, too."
"We hope that the US, together with the UN, will take immediate actions to ensure that girls are allowed to go back to their schools as soon as possible," Malala noted before a private meeting with the secretary.
Blinken, whose country this summer hastily withdrew its troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, saluted Malala as "an inspiration to girls and women around the world," and someone who "by her work, by her efforts, is making a real difference."

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