Taliban Breaks Promise, Not All Classes for Girls Are Open. PHOTO/Reuters
The unexpected decision, confirmed by a Taliban official on Wednesday (23/3/2022), comes at the start of a new school year in Afghanistan. This decision is sure to jeopardize the Taliban’s efforts to gain recognition from would-be international donors, at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Read: Taliban Promise to Open Schools for Girls Next Week
The decision to cancel girls’ return to school came late Tuesday (22/3/2022), Waheedullah Hashmi, external relations and donor representative with the Taliban-led government, told The Associated Press.
“Last night we received word from our leadership that the school will remain closed for girls,” Hashmi said. “We’re not saying they’re going to be closed forever,” he continued.
According to her, the fear that the religiously driven Taliban government would move forward by enrolling girls outside of Grade 6 could alienate their rural base.
Read: Official, Taliban Ban Afghanistan National Flag
“The leadership has not yet decided when or how they will allow girls to return to school,” Hashmi said. While he has received reports that urban centers are largely supportive of girls’ education, much of rural Afghanistan is against it, especially in Pashtun tribal areas.
The surprise decision also comes as the movement’s leadership has been summoned to southern Kandahar by reclusive Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada amid reports of a Cabinet reshuffle, according to an Afghan leader who is also a member of the leadership council.