US, UN Condemn Taliban’s Closure of Schools For Girls

Published March 24th, 2022 - 08:57 GMT
US, UN Condemn Taliban’s Closure of Women Schools
Girls attend a class after their school reopened in Kabul on March 23, 2022. The Taliban ordered girls' secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut on March 23 just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion and heartbreak over the policy reversal by the hardline Islamist group. (Photo by Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP)

The United Nations and the United States have condemned the Taliban’s move to close schools for young girls and women in Afghanistan.

After U.S. forces left the country, the Afghan government fell apart and the Taliban became Afghanistan’s de facto governing power, Taliban officials initially said they would allow women to attend school but suddenly reversed their decision on March 23.

Taliban officials offered little explanation regarding the decision despite announcing previously that the schools would re-open on Wednesday March 23, 2022.

“In Afghanistan, especially in the villages, the mindsets are not ready,” a Taliban spokesman said according to AFP reporters. “We have some cultural restrictions, but the main spokesman of the Islamic Emirate will offer better clarifications.”

The reversal sent many Afghan school girls, who went to the schools expecting to be let in, home in tears after being turned away. The United Nations and United States promptly released statements addressing the closures.

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay wrote on Twitter, “Today, the promise of a return to school was broken for millions of secondary school girls in Afghanistan. This is a major setback. Access to education is a fundamental right.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet wrote, “The denial of education violates the human rights of women and girls - beyond their equal right to education, it leaves them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation.”

Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement, “Education is a human right, and the United States rejects the Taliban’s excuses for reversing their commitment to the people of Afghanistan that all Afghans would be able to return to school at all levels today.”

The Taliban has yet to release a follow up statement confirming if schools for girls and women in Afghanistan will remain closed or if they will allow them to re-open.

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