06/09/2023, 19.39
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UN calls Taliban plan to ban NGOs from schools a “horrendous step backward”

The Taliban want foreign NGOs out of education, already crippled by restrictions on Afghan women and girls. For UN spokesman, this will harm the population. Last weekend, almost 80 schoolgirls were poisoned in the north of the country.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – The decision by Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities to ban all international NGOs active in education is raising great concerns. For the United Nations, “this will be another horrendous step backward” with dire consequences.

If carried out, the departure of foreign NGOs would be a hard blow both to the country’s education system, which already excludes girls and young women, as well as to the voluntary sector where Afghan women have already been excluded.

If this happens, it would "be another horrendous step backward for the people of Afghanistan and especially for women and girls," said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

"Our colleagues in Kabul are speaking to the de facto authorities. We're trying to ascertain exactly what is being planned. We have not gotten anything official."

"Every person has a right to an education, and we want to make sure that the de facto authorities guarantee access to education for children and young adults," he added.

If approved, the ban would be the latest in a series of restrictions imposed by the Taleban following a December 2022 decree banning Afghan women from working with NGOs.

Despite their initial commitments to protect human and women's rights, the Taliban have progressively curtailed them since returning to power in August 2021. More and more, women are being forced into the shadows.

Thousands have been fired or have been forced to resign from government and private sector jobs.

Women’s and girls’ education is a touchy in Taliban's Afghanistan. Like in neighbouring Iran, nearly 80 female students have recently been poisoned in two schools in the northern Sar-e-Pul province.

Some “60 students were poisoned in Naswan-e-Kabod Aab school, and 17 others were poisoned in Naswan Faizabad school,” said Mohammad Rahmani, head of the provincial education department, speaking to TOLOnews.

It seems, he added, that the unidentified person who orchestrated the poisonings had a personal grudge against the schools.

This is the first case since the Taliban seized power almost two years ago, when they began to crack down on women and girls.

Girls’ education stops at grade sixth, and women are excluded from most jobs and public life.

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