Taliban rulers close schools to girls above sixth grade, reneging on promise

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Taliban leaders in Afghanistan on Wednesday said that high schools would remain closed to girls until a reopening plan that is compliant with Islamic law was established. 

Teachers and students from three Kabul-area high schools arrived excitedly at school on Wednesday morning only to be sent home, Reuters reported. 

“We inform all girls high schools and those schools that are having female students above class six that they are off until the next order,” a Wednesday notice from the country’s ministry of education said, according to the news service.

Last week, the Ministry of Education said all students would return to school on Wednesday following months of education-related restrictions on high school-aged girls.

A ministry spokesperson even released a video message congratulating students on heading back to the classroom on Tuesday. But hours later, it was announced that schools for girls would be closed until a reopening plan was drafted in line with Islamic law and Afghan culture, Reuters added.

“We all got disappointed and we all became totally hopeless when the principal told us, she was also crying,” one student told the news service.

The decision was condemned by both the United Nations and the United States.

“The UN in Afghanistan deplores today’s reported announcement by the Taliban that they are further extending their indefinite ban on female students above the 6th grade being permitted to return school,” the United Nations’ Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) said, according to Reuters.

“This is very disappointing & contradicts many Taliban assurances & statements,” Ian McCary, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires for Afghanistan, added.

Since the Taliban took over Kabul in August, the country has suffered a near economic collapse and humanitarian crisis, especially in terms of the rights of women and girls. 

During the Taliban’s last rule of the country, female education was banned as were most employment opportunities.

Tags Afghanistan Education Taliban Women's rights
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