World News

Taliban says girls to return to school soon as possible

Girls will have to wait longer to return to secondary school in Afghanistan, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, as concerns grow over the fate of women’s education under the new government.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Kabul on Tuesday, Mujahid said the group was “finalising things” and that secondary school girls will return to the classroom “as soon as possible. On Saturday, the Ministry of Education issued a statement saying, “All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions,” but made no mention of girls or women.

As part of their new rules on education, girls and women can only be taught by female teachers or, in cases where there are not enough female teachers, by “older” men who have shown that they are “pious”. Likewise, women are able to return to universities but must study under some form of gender segregation.
Mujahid’s lack of clarity has led to increased worry among female educators and students who fear that the Taliban could return to the hardline restrictions of their five-year rule in the 1990s. At the time, all women and girls were banned from school. Only female doctors could continue to work.

Since the Taliban retook power last month 20 years after being removed in a US-led invasion, it has been sending mixed signals on women’s rights.

Source: Reuters

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