U.S. Special Representative Thomas West tweeted his “shock and deep disappointment” about the decision, calling it “a betrayal of public commitments to the Afghan people and the international community.” He said the Taliban had made it clear that all Afghans have a right to education, adding, “For the sake of the country’s future and its relations with the international community, I would urge the Taliban to live up to their commitments to their people.”
The surprising decision, confirmed by a Taliban official, is bound to disrupt efforts by the Taliban to win recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis. The international community has urged Taliban leaders to reopen schools and give women their right to public space.
The reversal was so sudden that the Education Ministry was caught off guard on Wednesday, the start of the school year, as were schools in parts of the Afghan capital of Kabul and elsewhere in the country. Some girls in higher grades returned to schools, only to be told to go home.
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