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Girls protest in Kabul for the right to education

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KABUL: Afghan girls and women have staged protests in front of the Ministry of Education in the capital, Kabul, days after the Taliban administration shut secondary schools for girls until further notice, following which the Afghan group has been accused of reneging on its promise on higher education for girls.

Thousands of jubilant girls across Afghanistan had flocked to learning institutions on Wednesday – the date the education ministry had set for classes to resume for girls of all ages. 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.

On Friday, the United States cancelled planned talks with the Taliban in Qatar that were set to address key economic issues after the group’s decision to close schools.

The decision, which the Taliban has yet to explain, means girls above the sixth grade will not be able to attend school.

“Open the schools! Justice, justice!” chanted protesters on Saturday, 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 Taliban fighters arrived at the scene.

Fawzia Koofi, a former chairperson of Afghanistan’s Women, Civil Society and Human Rights Commission, told the forum: “It’s basically a genocide of a generation.”

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 Taliban fighters arrived at the scene.

“How could anyone in this world in the 21st-century ban girls from education? I don’t think the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world, should accept,” she said.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Saturday, 26 march told “I think it was much easier for the Taliban to enforce a ban on girls’, The Taliban ban on girls’ education will not last forever, she further said, emphasizing that Afghan women now know what it is to be “empowered”.

US special envoy Thomas West said he expects the Taliban to reverse its decision “in coming days”.

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