Taliban orders return to school for male students, teachers across Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid calls on journalists raising their hands to ask a question during a press conference in Kabul
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The Taliban wrote in a Facebook post on Friday that, starting the following day, male students in grades six through 12 and male teachers should return to school.

The post noticeably left out similarly aged girls, though those in grades one through six have been allowed to return to the classroom since the Taliban took over, according to The Associated Press.

Taliban have previously promised that women will be allowed to pursue their education and have their own careers — a departure from the old guard during their previous rule, the AP noted. 

The insurgent group has promised that it will respect the rights of women under Islamic framework and a Taliban spokesperson told NBC News that “they can be doctors, teachers, be educated and can work to benefit society.”

“They are our sisters, we must show them respect. They should not be frightened. The Taliban are humans and from this country. They fought for our country. Women should be proud of us, not scared,” Zabihullah Mujahid told NBC News.

Since the Taliban’s Cabinet formation, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the group’s minister of higher education, said earlier this month that co-education between genders will not be allowed in the country and that women will study in gender-segregated university classrooms. He also noted that women will be required to wear hijabs as a part of their strict dress code.

Despite the Taliban’s promises toward women, the Cabinet’s all-male makeup and recent actions to disrupt women protesting for their freedoms in the country have worried many in the international community about the fate of women under the new leadership.

Following the announcement of the Cabinet formation, a State Department spokesperson noted in a statement, “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government,” and noted that the list of leaders “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.”

Tags Afghanistan State Department Taliban Women's rights

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