Taliban abruptly closes high schools for girls in Afghanistan

Afghanistan. Image: Google Maps

March 23 (UPI) — The Taliban backtracked on its promise to allow young women to get an education, closing girls high schools in Afghanistan abruptly Wednesday.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education sent out notices saying girls over Grade 6 weren’t allowed to attend school, shuttering the schools Wednesday, the day they were supposed to reopen. Some children had already shown up to school in the morning before being turned away hours later, TOLO News reported.

Students at a school west of Kabul reacted with shock, some crying.

“We just want to be able to learn and serve our people,” one student identified only as Fatima told the BBC. “What kind of country is this? What is our sin?”

The BBC reported that Taliban officials said the school closures are due to decisions that must be made about the uniforms students must wear.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called the decision a violation of human rights for women and girls.

“Beyond their equal right to education, it leaves them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation,” Bachelet said.

“The de facto authorities’ failure to adhere to commitments to reopen schools for girls above the sixth grade — in spite of repeated commitments towards girls’ education, including during my visit to Kabul two weeks ago — is deeply damaging for Afghanistan.”

The Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August as the United States and its allies departed the country after a 20-year war. The militant group, which have long practiced a fundamentalist form of Islam that limits the freedoms of women and girls, promised to allow women’s rights under Islamic law.

Samira Hamidi, who campaigns for Amnesty International in Afghanistan, said the Taliban’s decision Wednesday was not surprising.

“Many of us knew Taliban are yet again fooling around the international community. In seven months, they have not kept one promise. They do exactly the opposite of what they tell foreigners for legitimacy,” she tweeted.

“With this ban, Taliban once again reconfirm that they are anti-women & girls. Until they are in power and are not hold accountable, there will be no space for women and girls. It is OK for them to see women begging but don’t allow them to work.”


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