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World Bank freezes projects in Afghanistan over girls’ school ban

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WASHINGTON: The World Bank has suspended 4 projects successful Afghanistan worthy $600m, after Taliban banned girls from returning to secondary schools.

Last week, the Taliban reversed a determination to let the schools to open pursuing months of restrictions.

The projects’ aims included improving education, wellness and agriculture.

They besides had a “strong absorption connected ensuring that girls and women enactment and payment from the support,” the slope had said earlier.

The Taliban said schools would lone reopen aft a determination implicit uniforms for pistillate students had been made successful accordance with “Sharia instrumentality and Afghan tradition”.

The determination has drawn planetary condemnation, portion connected Saturday protestors gathered adjacent to the Ministry of Education successful the country’s superior Kabul to request that the school’s beryllium reopened.

The World Bank projects were targeted astatine giving women and girls arsenic overmuch entree to services successful Afghanistan, arsenic men.

They are financed by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which was frozen past twelvemonth aft the Taliban took power of the country.

At the commencement of this month, the enforcement committee of the World Bank approved a program to usage much than $1bn from the money to enactment “urgent needs” including those successful education, agriculture and health.

Under the plan, the wealth would not beryllium handed to Taliban authorities, and was alternatively to beryllium distributed done United Nations agencies and assistance groups.

“As a archetypal step, the ARTF donors volition determine connected 4 projects of astir $600m to enactment urgent needs successful the education, health, and agriculture sectors, arsenic good arsenic assemblage livelihoods,” the slope said successful a statement connected 1 March.

“This $600m volition beryllium supplemented with further allocations from the ARTF during 2022 arsenic conditions allow,” it added.

“This phased attack is designed to beryllium flexible and adaptive, recognising that the concern connected the crushed remains fluid.”

The BBC understands that the projects volition beryllium restarted lone erstwhile the slope is assured that its goals tin beryllium met.

On Friday, a associated connection by officials from 10 countries, including the US and UK, described the Taliban’s actions arsenic “profoundly disturbing”.

The US State Department has besides cancelled meetings with the Taliban, which were scheduled to instrumentality spot successful Qatar.

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