Taliban says classes resume for Afghan boys, no mention of girls

Private schools at primary, secondary level, as well as official religious schools, will be open from Saturday.

The new Taliban government has promised to allow women more freedoms yet there have been reports of women being barred from going to work, and some being beaten in recent weeks for protesting against Taliban rule [Aref Karimi/AFP]

Afghan schools will open for boys from Saturday, the new Taliban-run education ministry has said in a statement that did not mention when girls might be able to go back to their classes.

More than a month after the movement seized the capital, Kabul, most educational institutions have remained closed as the Taliban has struggled to reopen the economy and restore normal life in the cities.

At some of the schools that have managed to operate, girls up to the sixth grade have attended, and female students have gone to university classes. But high schools for girls have been closed.

The Taliban announced an interim administration last week and officials have said they will not replicate the policies of the previous Taliban government (1996-2001), which banned girls’ education, and they have promised that girls will be able to study so long as they do so in segregated classrooms.

However, there have been reports of women being barred from going to work, and some have demonstrated to demand their rights to employment and education.

Afghan women’s rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban to preserve their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021 [File: Reuters]

While the Taliban did not order schools to close after its takeover, the group has said the security situation meant that many activities for women and girls were not yet possible – and the latest statement did not mention girls at all.

It said state and private schools at primary and secondary level as well as official religious schools would be open from Saturday.

“All teachers and male students should attend school,” the statement said.

Separately on Friday, the Taliban appeared to have shut down the government’s ministry of women’s affairs and replaced it with a department known for enforcing strict religious doctrine.

Several posts have appeared on Twitter in the past 24 hours showing female workers from the ministry protesting outside the building, saying they had lost their jobs.

Earlier this week, members of Afghanistan’s national women’s football team fled across the border into Pakistan.

According to Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, the players entered Pakistan through the northwestern Torkham border crossing holding valid travel documents.

Source: News Agencies