Afghan girls take to streets to protest school shut in Paktia

Dozens of girls protested in Afghanistan’s Paktia province after Taliban authorities shut their schools just days after classes resumed. The agencies and local media reported an estimated three million secondary school girls have been shut out of school for more than a year now.

Images on social and local media, including TOLO news, show the girls dressed in their school uniforms – some in head-to-toe burqas, others in school uniforms and white veils – marching through the centre of Gardez to protest the closure.

Earlier this month, four girls’ schools above sixth grade in Gardez, the provincial capital, and one in the Samkani district began operating after a recommendation by Tribal elders and school principals, but without formal permission from the Taliban’s Ministry of Education.

When students in Gardez went for classes on Saturday, they were told to return home, said a women’s rights activist told AFP. In the morning when they did not allow the girls to enter schools, they held a protest, activist Yasmin and an organiser of the rally, told the news agency over the phone.

The Taliban has gone back on its promise to allow women’s education and job opportunities and has since imposed curbs on women’s rights. The action has brought back memories of its first stint in power between 1996-2001 during which women’s education was banned and women were banished from public life.

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