In a not-so-surprising U-turn, the Taliban administration in Afghanistan on Wednesday, 23 March, announced that girls would no longer be allowed to attend secondary school. The announcement came on the same day the higher secondary schools reopened for girls – seven months after they were shut.
A Ministry of Education notice said that the schools will remain closed until alterations are made as per Islamic law and Afghan culture, according to the administration's official agency Bakhtar News.
“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,” the notice said.
'Betrayed the Country': Activists
Samira Hamidi, an Amnesty International campaigner in Afghanistan, told The Guardian:
"This is a worst nightmare come true for the women and girls of Afghanistan, who have had their future and all they had hoped and worked for ripped away from them over the last year. They have betrayed the country by depriving a generation of women and girls of their right to education."Samira Hamidi
Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan politician and journalist based in London, told Al Jazeera:
“It’s very disappointing that girls, who were waiting for this day, made to return from school. It shows that Taliban are not reliable and cannot fulfil their promises."
The Afghan administration, earlier last week, had announced that schools for all students – including girls – would open around the country on 23 March – the first day of Afghanistan’s new school year.
This was after after months of restrictions placed on access to education for high school-aged girls in the country.
On 22 March evening a ministry spokesman even released a video congratulating all students on their return to school. However, just hours after the schools reopened for girls, they were shut down again.
The last time when Taliban ruled Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, it banned female education and employment. But in August 2021, the extremist group had promised opportunities for girls’ education.
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