The Taliban ordered girls' secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut
What To Know About Taliban's New Interim Government In Afghanistan Photo by AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan's Taliban administration broke their promise and officially announced on Wednesday that girls' schools will be closed once again, just hours following the reopening of classes for the first time after months of restrictions since they seized power in August.

According to a Ministry of Education notice on Wednesday, schools for girls would be closed until a plan was made following Islamic law and Afghan culture. "We inform all girls high schools and those schools that are having female students above class six that they are off until the next order," said the notice. Education ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmad Rayan said, "We are not allowed to comment on this."

"It’s very disappointing that girls, who were waiting for this day, made to return from school. It shows that Taliban are not reliable and cannot fulfill their promises," Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan politician and journalist based in London, told Al Jazeera. "It means that secondary and high schools are banned for girls. Even primary schools are not open across the country. Most of the provinces do not have girls’ primary schools. It shows that the Taliban is exactly the same as before – they are against girls’ education."

Several girls were in tears as parents and students reacted with anger and disappointment due to the last-minute move. The Taliban's reverse decision came a week after the education ministry announced that schools for all students, including girls, would open around the country.

On Tuesday evening a ministry spokesman uploaded a video congratulating all students on their return to class. An AFP team was filming at Zarghona High School in the capital, Kabul, when a teacher entered and stated that the class was over. Students then tearfully packed up their belongings and went out.

Officials faced a shortage of teachers as many of them fled the country as the Taliban gained power after the West-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani collapsed. Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, since then it banned female education and most female employment. However, after returning to power in August the group has promised opportunities for girls’ education and employment.

The Taliban had claimed that they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles. They imposed restrictions on women, banning them from many government jobs, keeping watch on what they wear and preventing them from traveling outside of their cities alone.

The Taliban ordered girls' secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut
Girls attend a class after their school reopening in Kabul on March 23, 2022. - The Taliban ordered girls' secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut on March 23 just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion and heartbreak over the policy reversal by the hardline Islamist group. Photo by Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP via Getty Images

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