Centre d'Enseignement Français en Afghanistan
|Number of students||5,700|
The Lycée Esteqlal (Persian: لیسه استقلال English: Esteqlal High School) is a Franco-Afghan school in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is the second oldest school (after Habibia High School) in Kabul, and was recognized as one of the prestigious schools in the country.
Lycée Esteqlal is a public school, administered by the Afghan Ministry of Education, and is currently under the contract of AEFE, an educational agency of the French Foreign Ministry. The French Cultural Center (CCF) is also located inside the Lycée Esteqlal compound.
Created under the impulse of King Amanullah in 1922 as Amaniya School, it was renamed in 1931 to Lycée Esteqlal (meaning "independence" in Persian). In 1968, French Prime Minister Georges Pompidou laid the first brick of modern buildings, and the new site was inaugurated in 1974. The curriculum was entirely in the French language until 1985 when diplomatic relations between France and Afghanistan were suspended under the communist regime. Since 2002, only a few subjects, such as French language, mathematics and physics, are taught in French, and the rest in Dari.
Until 1985, Lycée Esteqlal did not only receive Afghan students, but also several French nationals who were related to the French Embassy's diplomatic staff. Lycée Esteqlal along with Lycée Malalaï (Persian: لیسه ملالی), which is the other Franco-Afghan school for girls in Kabul were rebuilt and reopened at the beginning of 2003, and currently they are under the contract of Agence pour l'enseignement français à l'étranger.
King Amanullah, who was progressive and democratic also oversaw the opening of the first girls school, Masturat, in 1921. Masturat was closed between 1928 and 1932, then reopened in 1932 through the efforts of the new King Nadir Shah and became a girls secondary school in 1939, led by a French teacher. Seven hours a week of French was taught from the primary year upwards. In 1942, the school moved to a new building and took the name of Lycée Malalai, from the name of a famous Afghan woman who fought in the resistance against the invading English in 1880 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
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Many internationally renowned Afghan personalities and figures have received part of their education or have obtained their Baccalaureate in Lycée Esteqlal.
- Ahmad Shah Massoud, the renowned Afghan anti-Soviet resistance leader, did his Secondary education in Lycée Esteqlal
- Ravan A. G. Farhâdi, the former Ambassador to the United Nations for Afghanistan, and a renowned writer, researcher and scholar in Persian literature. He has also been a professor at Sorbonne University and at University of California, Berkeley.
- Zalmai Rassoul, current Afghan foreign affairs minister 
- Zemaryalai Tarzi, an internationally renowned archaeologist, and a professor at the University of Strasbourg
- Atiq Rahimi, a well-known French-Afghan writer
- Amin Wardak, mujahideen leader from Wardak province
- Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Mahmoud Saikal, current Permanent Representative to the United Nations for Afghanistan
- Soutien aux lycées Esteqlal et Malalaï, French Embassy in Afghanistan[permanent dead link]
- "Centre d'Enseignement Français en Afghanistan (CEFA)" (Archive). AEFE. October 17, 2005. Retrieved on May 6, 2015.
- Chaussé, Caroline (December 2001 - January–February 2002). "Plus de soixante années de coopération franco-afghane" (in French). Paris: France Culture. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Check date values in:
- "Lycées français de Kaboul - Historique" (in French). Kabul: website of the French Lycées in Kabul. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
- D’Afghanistan, Leylâ (2003). "La genèse du droit de la femme en Afghanistan" (PDF). Les Cahiers du Cremoc (in French). Paris: CREMOC (Centre de recherche sur l'Europe et le monde contemporain) (nr. 36). Retrieved 2009-11-06.
- "Suicide bomber targets French school in Kabul." Al Jazeera. 11 December 2014. Retrieved on May 6, 2015.
- "Kabul suicide bomber attacks French school during show." BBC. 11 December 2014. Retrieved on 6 May 2015.
-  Biography, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Bewig, Matt (2012-01-15). "Ambassador from Afghanistan: Who Is Eklil Ahmad Hakimi?". AllGov. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- Official website of Lycée Esteqlal
- Website by the French pedagogical team for Esteqlal and Malalai schools http://www.esteqlal-malalai.org/topic/index.html