Closing of girls’ schools after brief opening sparks outcry

KABUL (TOLOnews): The closing of schools for female students beyond grade six, which had been briefly opened, sparked serious reactions inside and outside of Afghanistan.
Earlier, some girls’ schools above grade 6 in the province had been reopened due to a decision by tribal elders and local educational officials, but the schools were closed again.
On Saturday, dozens of girls took the streets in the center of Paktia to protest the closing of their schools.
The videos of the protests went viral on social media and triggered strong reactions by the Afghan public as well as famous politicians and human rights defenders.
“The fight of Afghan girls/women for the right to education is important for the entire humanity because gender apartheid and contraction of freedom in one country can have fallout for the rest of humanity,” said Afrasiab Khattak, a former Pakistani senator and analyst of regional affairs.
Heather Barr, director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch said on Twitter that the “Taliban just shut down girls’ schools in Paktia—after community members pushed for them to open. What will the HRC do? We want a much tougher UN action on accountability.”
The founder and head of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement said that Saturday’s protest for educational rights by the girls in Paktia is praiseworthy.
“In the 21st century, the Afghan girls are being deprived of education by force,” he said.
Nazar Mohammad, head of the Afghan National Olympic Committee, on Twitter criticized the closure of schools and said there has yet to be a decision about whether to close or reopen the schools for girls.