The Taliban in Afghanistan has announced that girls’ high schools will be closed, hours after they reopened for the first time in nearly seven months.
This means female students in the country above the sixth grade will not be able to attend school.
Schools for girls would be closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture, according to a Ministry of Education notice on Wednesday.
“We inform all girls high schools and those schools that are having female students above class six that they are off until the next order,” read the notice.
Videos show that the girls in Afghanistan crying after they were promised their schools would reopen only for the Taliban to lock them out again at the last minute.
In videos, students, back at school for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, were seen tearfully packing up their belongings and filing out.
“I see my students crying and reluctant to leave classes. It is very painful to see your students crying,” said Palwasha, a teacher at Omra Khan girls’ school in Kabul said to AFP news agency.
“We all got disappointed and we all became totally hopeless when the principal told us, she was also crying,” said a student, who was not named for security reasons.
“It’s very disappointing that girls, who were waiting for this day, made to return from school. It shows that Taliban are not reliable and cannot fulfill their promises,” Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan politician and journalist based in London, said to Al Jazeera.
The Ministry of Education had announced last week that schools for all students, including girls, would open around the country on Wednesday – the first day of Afghanistan’s new school year – after months of restrictions on education for high school-aged girls.
United Nations chief António Guterres said he is deeply regret the announcement by Taliban authorities in Afghanistan that girls’ education from the sixth grade has been suspended until further notice.
“The failure by Taliban authorities to reopen schools for girls above 6th grade is profoundly disappointing and damaging for Afghanistan,” he said.
“The denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls to education, it also jeopardizes the country’s future in view of the tremendous contributions by Afghan women and girls,” read his statement.
The UN chief also urged the de facto authorities to open schools for all students without any further delay.
After returning to power in August the Taliban has promised opportunities for girls’ education and employment.
When the group took over last August, schools were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but only boys and younger girls were allowed to resume classes two months later.
The ruling-group had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles.