Nationwide protests if Afghan girls’ schools stay shut: activists

KABUL – Women’s rights activists pledged Sunday to launch a wave of protests across Afghanistan if the Taliban fail to reopen girls’ secondary schools within a week.
Thousands of secondary school girls had flocked to classes on Wednesday after the government reopened their institutions for the first time since seizing power last August.
But officials ordered the schools shut again just hours into the day, triggering international outrage.
“We call on the leaders of the Islamic Emirate to open girls’ schools within one week,” activist Halima Nasari read from a statement issued by four women’s rights groups at a press conference in Kabul.
“If the girls’ schools remain closed even after one week, we will open them ourselves and stage demonstrations throughout the country until our demands are met.”
The Taliban should be building more schools for girls in rural areas rather than shutting existing facilities, said the statement, which comes after several women’s activists were detained in recent months.
“The people can no longer tolerate such oppression. We do not accept any excuse from the authorities,” it said.
On Saturday, about two dozen schoolgirls and women staged a protest in Kabul demanding the reopening of the schools.

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