By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Officials in Afghanistan on Tuesday blamed the Taliban for torching a girls’ school in Kabul province.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the Taliban torched an actively operating girls’ school in Shakar Dara district of the greater Kabul province that also include the capital city Kabul.
It said the incident took place early on Tuesday around 1.30 a.m. local time (2100 GMT Monday) in Nasiri village of the district. The Taliban have rejected their involvement in the attack.
The group did “not damage them”, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, said on Twitter.
The United Nations said in a report earlier this year that education is under fire in Afghanistan with nearly 200 schools attacked in 2018 alone.
According to a May report of the UN Children’s Fund, the ongoing conflict and rapidly deteriorating security across the country left more than 1,000 schools closed by the end of last year, denying half a million children their right to education.
According to UNICEF, an estimated 3.7 million children aged between 7 and 17 — nearly half of all school-aged children in the country — are out of school in Afghanistan.
Today, more than 3.6 million Afghan girls are enrolled in school and 100,000 women attend universities, according to education ministries. But about 400 schools for both boys and girls have closed over the past several months for “security reasons,” including armed conflict and Taliban threats or attacks, the ministry said.
UNICEF said the use of school buildings as voting stations during the 2018 parliamentary election might have been a factor behind the increased number of attacks.
Although Afghanistan has a young and fast-growing population, UNICEF said on May 28 that about 3.7 million Afghan children — nearly half of all school-age children — were not enrolled in formal education.