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Banning Girls Students in Grade 7-12 From Schools Faced Strong Outcry

Rafiullah Anwari

KABUL: The remained ban on girls students in grades 7-12—who were not allowed to attend their classes in many parts of the country—faced strong reactions on national and international levels.

Earlier, the Ministry of Education announced all schools will be reopened for girls students on Wednesday, but the decision was abruptly changed and girls in grades 7-12 were not allowed to participate in their classes until the next decision is announced.

Aziz Ahmad Reyan, a spokesman of the Ministry of Education, said that for now, girls’ schools beyond grade six will remain closed and that Islamic Emirate’s leadership will make a final decision in regards.

Herat and Badghis were the only provinces where all girls were allowed to attend schools on Wednesday.

This has sparked international reactions. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said: “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 Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in a statement said today’s decision “casts a dark shadow” on the school year in Afghanistan. “We hope the deeply concerning announcement by the Ministry of Education will be reversed. We expect the Taliban government to allow all girls and boys across the whole country to resume their complete education cycle, in line with earlier public assurances they have given. Limiting girls’ schooling to primary education will devastate their future and the future of Afghanistan,” NRC’s Secretary-General Jan Egeland said.

“The reported failure to open schools for girls above grade 6 across the country not only weakens confidence in the Taliban’s commitments but further dashes the hopes of families for a better future for their daughters,” said Rina Amiri, the US special envoy for Afghan girls, women and human rights who is tasked with promoting human rights in Afghanistan.

Amnesty International expressed concerns over the matter of schooling in Afghanistan. “The right to education is a fundamental human right, which the Taliban – as the de facto authorities – are duty-bound to uphold. The policies currently pursued by the Taliban are discriminatory, unjust, and violate international law,” it said.

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