Taliban Closes Girls Schools In Afghanistan Just Hours After Reopening For First Time
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Students attending girls schools in Afghanistan have been left in tears after the Taliban ruled they would not reopen as planned on Wednesday.
Secondary schools for girls were set to open nationwide on 23 March for the first time since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August. But in a last minute reversal, the education ministry announced that students should not be let into the classrooms, with no new date for the reopening yet confirmed.
'We inform all girls' high schools and those schools that [have] female students above class six that they are off until the next order,' a notice issued this morning read, citing the need for a ruling on the uniform female students should wear under 'Sharia law and Afghan tradition.'
‘Mother, they didn’t let me go to school today. They said girls aren’t allowed to go to school’— Shabnam Nasimi (@NasimiShabnam) March 23, 2022
Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to school.
Girls who had already arrived at their schools were pictured leaving in tears after being told they couldn't enter their classrooms, with many having spoken about their excitement to be back in education after more than six months.
"Why are they playing with us? We have rights. We are human beings," one student told TOLO News. "We just want to keep studying. Is it a sin to study? Is it a sin to be young women?"
Mahouba Seraj, founder of the Afghan Women's Network, told the BBC that the Taliban authorities had claimed students were not wearing a 'proper hijab,' but said the claims about the uniform were confusing as 'school uniforms in Afghanistan are pretty covered up, always.'
In a statement the UN mission in Afghanistan said it 'deplores' the failure to reopen the schools, saying the Taliban's failure to uphold its promises about female education 'further dashes the hopes of families for a better future for their daughters.'
Under the first Taliban government in the 1990s girls were banned from attending school or university, however upon retaking power last year officials claimed they would permit girls to go to school, albeit in segregated classrooms.
Since then however, only girls primary schools have reopened, with the Taliban said to be privately divided over the issue of female education.
Guaranteeing rights for women and girls to be able to go to school has been one of the major conditions set out by the international community in order for the Taliban to be allowed to access foreign aid.
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