Taliban shut down Afghan girls’ schools hours after reopening | Taliban News

The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has announced the closure of girls’ high schools, hours after they reopened for the first time in nearly seven months.

The Taliban rollback means female students beyond sixth grade will not be able to go to school.

A notice from the Ministry of Education said on Wednesday that girls’ schools would be closed until a plan was developed in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture, according to the government-run Bakhtar News Agency.

“We are advising all girls’ high schools and schools that have female students above grade six that they are absent until next order,” the notice reads.

“Yes, it’s true,” Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani told AFP when asked to confirm reports that girls had been sent home.

He would not immediately explain the reasoning, while Education Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmad Rayan said: “We are not authorized to comment on this.”

The Education Ministry has acknowledged that authorities face a shortage of teachers – including many among the tens of thousands of people who fled the country when the Taliban took over after the government backed by the government collapsed. West of President Ashraf Ghani.

“We need thousands of teachers and to solve this problem we are trying to hire new teachers on a temporary basis,” the spokesperson said.

The Ministry of Education announced last week that schools for all students, including girls, would open across the country on Wednesday after months of restrictions on the education of girls of secondary school age.

On Tuesday evening, a ministry spokesperson released a video congratulating all students on their return to class.

An AFP crew was filming at Zarghona High School in the capital, Kabul, when a teacher came in and said class was over.

Despondent students, returning to school for the first time since the Taliban took over in August last year, tearfully packed their belongings and walked out.

The girls attend a class after their school reopened in Kabul on Wednesday [Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

“I see my students crying and reluctant to leave class,” said Palwasha, a teacher at Omra Khan Girls’ School in Kabul.

“It’s very painful to see your students cry.”

“We were all disappointed and we all got totally desperate when the headmistress told us she was crying too,” said one student, who has not been named for security reasons.

When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, they banned female education and most female jobs. But after returning to power in August, the group promised education and job opportunities for girls.

The international community has made girls’ education a key requirement for any future recognition of the Taliban administration, which took control of the country in August as foreign forces retreated.

UN envoy Deborah Lyons called the reports of the shutdown “disturbing”.

“If that’s true, what could be the reason? she tweeted.

When the Taliban took power last August, schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but only boys and girls were allowed to resume classes two months later.

The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and operated according to Islamic principles.

The Taliban have imposed a host of restrictions on women, effectively banning them from many government jobs, controlling what they wear and preventing them from traveling alone outside of their cities.

Even as schools fully reopen, barriers to girls returning to school remain, with many families wary of the Taliban and reluctant to let their daughters out.

Others see little value in girls learning.

“These girls who have finished school have found themselves at home and their future is uncertain,” said Heela Haya, 20, from Kandahar, who has decided to drop out of school.

“What will our future be?”

Human Rights Watch also raised the issue of the few opportunities girls have to apply their education.

“Why would you and your family make huge sacrifices to study if you can never have the career you dreamed of?” said Sahar Fetrat, the group’s assistant researcher.

Hadia, a 10-year-old 4th grade student attends a class in Kabul, Afghanistan
The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and operated according to Islamic principles [File: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters]

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