Karzai voices support for protesting female students | The Express Tribune


KABUL:

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday called on the ruling Taliban to reopen high schools for girls and applauded female students in the eastern province of Paktia who residents say are publicly protesting the move.

“The voice of Paktia students is the voice of all our girls and of Afghanistan,” Karzai, who remained in Kabul after the Taliban took over a little over a year ago, said on Twitter. .

“We are asking the interim Islamic government to open the schools,” he said.

The ruling Taliban suddenly backed away from promises to open girls’ high schools in March, leaving some female students who showed up to class in tears.

Authorities in Paktia said this week that girls’ high schools have reopened, although the move has not been officially approved.

On Saturday, the head of Paktia’s information department told reporters that any suggestion of school closures was “propaganda”.

But three residents and three Taliban officials, all of whom declined to be named, told Reuters schools were closed on Saturday. Residents, one of whom is a teacher, asked to remain anonymous for security reasons and said the closure had prompted some girls to protest.

Read also : Some girls’ high schools reopen in eastern Afghanistan

Video footage released by local broadcaster Tolo on its website and Twitter account shows dozens of girls in school uniforms marching down a street chanting. Reuters could not independently verify the images.

Taliban education officials in Paktia and Kabul did not respond to a request for comment. The group’s spokesperson declined to comment.

The Taliban sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said many members of the group wanted the girls to be able to go to high school.

The Taliban said they were working on a plan to reopen girls’ high schools, but did not say when.

Girls of primary school age and university students can still attend classes.

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