KABUL (AFP) – About two dozen girls and women chanting “open the schools” protested in the Afghan capital yesterday against the Taleban’s decision to shut their secondary schools just hours after re-opening them this week.
Thousands of jubilant girls across Afghanistan had flocked to learning institutions on Wednesday – the date the Education Ministry had set for classes to resume.
But just hours into the first day, the ministry announced a shock policy reversal that left youngsters saying they felt betrayed and foreign governments expressing outrage. “Open the schools! Justice, justice!” chanted protesters yesterday, some carrying school books as they gathered at a city square in Kabul.
They held banners that said: “Education is our fundamental right, not a political plan” as they marched for a short distance and later dispersed as Taleban fighters arrived at the scene.
The protest was the first held by women in weeks after the Taleban rounded up the ringleaders of initial demonstrations held after they returned to power in August.
The Taleban have not given a clear reason for their decision, which came after a meeting late Tuesday of senior officials in the southern city of Kandahar, the Taleban’s de facto power centre and spiritual heartland. It followed months of work by some foreign countries on a plan to support the payment of teachers’ wages.
Afghan secondary school girls have now been out of education for more than seven months.