Taliban order Afghan girls’ schools shut hours after reopening

KABUL – 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. 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.
Afghanistan girls’ tears over
Taliban schools U-turn
Early on Wednesday morning, at her home on a hilltop in the west of Kabul, 15-year-old Marzia packed her bag for school, for the first time since the Taliban took power last August.
“I became so, so happy when I heard school was restarting,” she told the BBC. “It makes me hopeful about the future again.” Around 200 other girls had also made their way to the Sayed ul Shuhada school, far fewer than usual, as pupils and their families debated whether or not lessons would actually start and whether it would be safe for them to attend.
Since August, in most of Afghanistan, only girls’ primary schools have remained open, along with all boys’ schools. Today as a new academic year began, girls’ secondary schools were finally expected to re-open along with other institutes. It felt a particularly poignant moment for students here. Last year more than 90 of their classmates and school staff were killed in an attack by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

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