Afghan girls stage protest, demand Taliban reopen schools


About two dozen girls and women chanting “open the schools” protested in the Afghan capital on Saturday against the Taliban’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 the youngsters saying that they felt betrayed.

“Open the schools! Justice, justice!” the protesters chanted on Saturday, with 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.

The protest was the first held by women in weeks after the Taliban rounded up the ringleaders of initial demonstrations held after they returned to power in August.

The Islamists had not given a clear reason for their decision, which came after a Tuesday meeting of senior officials in the southern city of Kandahar, the Taliban’s de facto power centre and spiritual heartland.

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