Taliban expel schoolgirls who are 13 or older or have reached puberty

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Kandahar, Oct 8

In recent weeks, the Taliban have carried out inspections of girls' schools in the Kandahar province and expelled hundreds of pubescent female students, media reported.

They have joined the estimated 3 million girls in Afghanistan who are being deprived of an education.

Since seizing power last year, the militant group has barred girls who are 13 or older or above the sixth grade from attending school, RFE/RL reported.

The expulsions in Kandahar are part of the Taliban's enforcement of its deeply controversial ban, which has fuelled protests inside the country and attracted international condemnation.

According to the Taliban's extremist view of Islamic Sharia law, girls who have reached puberty must be segregated from male students and teachers. The militants have claimed that, due to a shortage of female teachers, they cannot permit pubescent girls to attend school. Before the Taliban takeover, many girls' schools were already segregated.

The Taliban have not given exceptions to girls who started school late, had to repeat school, or have learning disabilities, RFE/RL reported.

Fawzia, a 15-year-old who was in the fifth grade, was expelled from her school in Kandahar's Daman district last month. She said the Taliban kicked out more than 100 girls from her school alone after carrying out an inspection.

Mawlawi Fakhruddin Naqshbandi, the provincial head of the Taliban's Education Ministry in Kandahar, confirmed the expulsions. He said girls who were 13 or older or had reached puberty were being expelled.

Afghan women and girls have taken to the streets to protest the Taliban's ban and demand their basic rights since the militant group seized power in August 2021.

Last month, schoolgirls, women, and even Afghan elders openly demonstrated their support for girls' education in social media posts and street protests across the country, in a rare display of defiance under the Taliban, RFE/RL reported.


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