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Taliban officials, teachers and school directors confirm it: middle school and high school girls made their return to class in Afghanistan on Tuesday. However, this re-entry only concerns the province of Kunduz, in the north of the country, strict clothing rules are imposed and any mix is excluded. In the rest of the country, only primary schools and private universities cater for a female audience.
Girls have returned to some middle and high schools in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, a Taliban official and teachers said on Tuesday (October 5th). But this new school year does not apply to the rest of the country.
A video posted by Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesperson, shows dozens of girls returning to school in Khan Abad, a district of Kunduz province.
Most of them wear the traditional school clothes of Afghan girls, a long black tunic and a white scarf, but others have donned a black niqab covering their entire face except the eyes. They sit on benches and wave Taliban flags.
#Afghanistan Suhail Shaheen, the official spokesperson for the Taliban in Qatar, says the girls go to high school in the town of Khan Abad (Kunduz province). But what is this high school where they wave flags of the Islamic Emirate as an education? ? https://t.co/z3jg8bFYAf
– Denise (@denisedetralala) October 5, 2021
“The girls go to secondary schools in Khan Abad,” wrote Suhail Shaheen, who has been appointed by the Taliban as their permanent representative to the United Nations.
In Kabul, however, Mohammad Abid, an education ministry official, told AFP that the rules had not changed. “Secondary schools remain closed for girls,” he said.
By mid-September, Afghan middle and high schools had reopened, but only for boys.
The government then assured that the girls would follow “as quickly as possible”, but that it was first necessary to guarantee them a “safe educational environment”, in accordance with the strict interpretation by the Taliban of Sharia law which provides for the no -mixed classes.
Girls are already allowed to attend primary school and private universities, but in single-sex classes and on condition that they are fully veiled.
A principal and a principal of the province of Kunduz confirmed to AFP that middle school and high school girls had returned to class in the districts of Archi and Imam Sahib.
A teacher from the provincial capital Kunduz also told AFP that the girls had resumed classes at her school.
The rectorate explained to its director that the ban on girls was “only applicable in other provinces and not in Kunduz,” she said, on condition of anonymity.
The absence of the girls from secondary schools has sparked outrage from the international community, which fears that the Taliban will impose the same kind of fundamentalist and brutal regime as when they were already in power between 1996 and 2001.
Women were then largely excluded from public life and were, with very rare exceptions, not allowed to study or work.
The Islamists also called on the women to stay at home and not to return to work for now, citing security reasons. They assured that they could then return to work, but separately from the men.
Even if since their return to power in mid-August, the Taliban have tried to reassure the Afghan people and the international community by affirming that they will be less strict than in the past, their promises are struggling to convince.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior, however, told AFP on Tuesday that all employees of the passport service, “including women”, were invited to return to work.
The government also said in a statement that it had started paying the salaries of some ministerial officials.