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Taliban orders Afghan girls' schools shut hours after reopening

Crestfallen students, back in class for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, tearfully packed up their belongings and filed out

By AFP
Published: Mar 23, 2022 01:03:32 PM IST
Updated: Mar 23, 2022 01:18:23 PM IST

Taliban orders Afghan girls' schools shut hours after reopeningGirls attend a class after their school reopened in Kabul on March 23, 2022. - The reopening of secondary schools for girls across Afghanistan on March 23 prompted joy and apprehension among the tens of thousands of students deprived of an education since the Taliban's return to power. (Credit: Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP)


Kabul, Afghanistan: The Taliban ordered secondary girls schools in Afghanistan to shut Wednesday just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion over the policy reversal by the hardline Islamist group.

"Yes, it's true," Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani told AFP when asked to confirm reports that girls had been ordered home.

An AFP team was filming at Zarghona High School in the capital Kabul when a teacher entered and ordered everyone to go home.

Crestfallen students, back in class for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, tearfully packed up their belongings and filed out.

Hope and fear

The reopening of secondary schools for girls across Afghanistan on Wednesday had prompted joy and apprehension among the tens of thousands of students deprived of an education since the Taliban's return to power.

All schools were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic when the Taliban took over in August last year — but only boys and some younger girls were allowed to resume classes two months later.

In Dasht-e-Barchi, a Kabul district mainly home to minority Shiite Hazaras, 14-year-old Alina Nazari was happy to be going back to class after months away.

The ninth-grade student, whose father is a taxi driver, dreams of becoming a doctor and wants to help rebuild the country.

"I am so happy that schools are reopening," she told AFP from her family home.

"Education is very important and our country needs doctors and engineers."

Nazari, the eldest of five siblings, does not expect going back to school will be as simple as turning the clock back to before August 15, when the Taliban took over.

The international community has made the right to education for all a sticking point in negotiations over aid and recognition of the new Taliban regime.

© Agence France-Presse

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