AFGHAN GIRLS TO RETURN TO SECONDARY SCHOOL: TALIBAN

Spokesman for interior ministry tells Al Jazeera that all schools and universities in Afghanistan will reopen ‘in a very short time’.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs has said girls will be allowed to return to secondary schools soon.

Saeed Khosty, a spokesman for the interior ministry, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the exact timing will be announced by the Ministry of Education.

“From my understanding and information, in a very short time all the universities and schools will be reopened and all the girls and women will return to school and their teaching jobs,” he said.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, teenage girls were told to stay home from school until a “safe learning environment” could be established. But boys in all grades and girls of primary age were told to return to school.

The exclusion of older girls has aggravated fears that the Taliban could be returning to their hardline rule of the 1990s, when women and girls were legally barred from education and employment.

Khosti “indicated that it was imminent that girls in secondary schools and their female teachers would be returning very soon,” said Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Kabul.

“This is something that we’ve been hearing from the Taliban since they took power. Yes, they’re going to return. But it’s going to take time. And of course, that’s taking a toll on a lot of the girls,” she said.

“They want to go back to school, they want to continue their studies. This is also one of the demands of the international community for the Taliban to protect and safeguard the rights of girls and women to go to school and to work.”

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