The Taliban have reversed a decision to allow Afghan girls to return to high schools, saying a decision is still to be made on the uniforms they must wear.
Schools were set to open nationwide after months of restrictions since the Taliban seized power in August.
But the education ministry abruptly announced girls’ secondary schools would stay shut, causing confusion.
Some girls were in tears as parents and students reacted with anger and disappointment to the last-minute move.
Many had earlier talked of how happy and excited they were to be back in the classroom.
The decision came a week after the education ministry announced schools for all students, including girls, would open around the country on Wednesday.
“We inform all girls’ high schools and those schools that [have] female students above class six that they are off until the next order,” the notice said.
The notice added schools would reopen after a decision over the uniform of female students was made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan tradition”.
The sudden reversal has sparked deep anger from parents of female students.
A man who did not want to be identified told the BBC his daughter had been in shock and in tears since being refused entry by Taliban officials into the school this morning.
“If anything happens to my daughter, I will not forgive the Taliban,” he said.
Under Taliban rule in the 1990s, girls were banned from getting an education. And since the Taliban took power again last August, only girls’ primary schools along with all boys’ schools have remained open in most of the country.
Girls’ secondary schools were finally meant to open today.
Privately, Taliban members admit female education remains a controversial issue amongst their most hardline elements.
This chaotic and last-minute policy reversal makes clear the divisions within the group – and underlines how out of touch with the aspirations of modern Afghan society parts of the leadership are.
Categories: Afghanistan, Asia, Muslim women, Muslim Women's Right, Rights of Women, Women, Women In islam, Women Rights, Women's right
(CNN) The Taliban prevented girls above the 6th grade in Afghanistan from making their much-anticipated return to school on Wednesday.
Just hours after schools for girls were due to open, the Taliban ordered them to shut down again. Teenage girls in Afghanistan have now been denied their right to an education for 187 days.
Under increasing international pressure, the Taliban had originally said that schools would open for all students — including girls — after the Afghan new year, which is celebrated on March 21, on the condition that boys and girls were separated either in different schools or by different learning hours.
But on Wednesday, girls above the 6th grade were told to stay at home until a school uniform appropriate to Sharia and Afghan customs and culture can be designed, the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency reported.
The decision is likely to spark widespread international condemnation. US diplomats said the Taliban’s move was “disappointing.”