02/12/2008, 00.00
AFGHANISTAN
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Despite Taliban attacks, more and more children and teenagers going to school

Islamists rebels want to undermine education. In the last ten months they have murdered 147 teachers and students and destroyed 98 schools. Unfortunately many areas still lack proper schools and pupils end up in madrassas that preach fundamentalism and hatred.

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In the last ten months 147 teachers and pupils have died as a result of attacks by fundamentalists in the Taliban’s war on all education that is not dispensed in male-only madrassas. In spite of the violence, some 800,000 additional pupils have enrolled this year bringing the total number to 5.7 million.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai cited the figures provided by the Education Ministry to express his joy that so many children were now in school. He did however regret that at least 3 million pupils were schooled in tents under difficult conditions with an additional 300,000 unable to attend school.

For their part the Taliban are stepping up their campaign against the education of girls in favour of male-only madrassas that dispense lessons strictly based on their sectarian principles. And attacks against teachers and pupils are part of their strategy.

Despite the dangers the number of girls going to school today is greater than the total number of students that attended madrassas when the Taliban were in power.

Still the education ministry warned that the lack of modern Islamic education has led to boys being sent to study in unregulated madrassas that propagate hatred and violence and breed terrorism.

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