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UN urges Taliban to reopen high schools for Afghan girls

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Kabul: The United Nations urged the Taliban on Sunday to reopen high schools for girls across Afghanistan, condemning the ban that began exactly a year ago as “tragic and shameful”.

Weeks after the Taliban seized power in August last year, the group reopened high schools for boys on September 18, 2021, but banned secondary schoolgirls from attending classes.

Months later on March 23, the education ministry opened secondary schools for girls, but within hours the Taliban leadership ordered classes to be shut again.

Since then more than a million teenage girls have been deprived of education across the country, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.

“This is a tragic, shameful, and entirely avoidable anniversary,” said Markus Potzel, the acting head of UNAMA in a statement.

“A year of lost knowledge and opportunity that they will never get back,” Guterres said on Twitter.

Several Taliban officials say the ban is only temporary, but they have also wheeled out a litany of excuses for the closures — from a lack of funds to time needed to remodel the syllabus along Islamic lines.

Earlier this month, the education minister was quoted by local media as saying it was a cultural issue, as many rural people did not want their daughters to attend school.

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