Despite official pledges to the contrary, Afghan girls and young women in grades 7-12 were not allowed to attend their classes on Wednesday, the first day of Afghanistan’s new school year.
The Ministry of Education had previously announced that all schools, grades 1 to 12, would be reopened for both male and female students across the country on Wednesday.
However, female students beyond grade 6 were prohibited from entering their schools, or were ordered to leave their classes hours after the schools reopened.
“When I came to school in the early morning, I was so happy, I saw our principal was crying, I did not know the reason. After that, all the students were crying,” said Uranus, a student.
Officials referred to issues related to female dress as a reason for the closed schools.
“We are wearing Hijab, We do not know what kind of Hijab they are talking about?,” said Malalai, a student.
TOLOnews spoke with female students from Kabul and other cold climate provinces who were banned from attending classes.
“They claim to be an Islamic country, they say we are the Islamic Emirate; so, they have to act based on the sayings of the Great Messenger of Islam, as he says, both women and men have the right to learn,” said Malika, a student.
They urged the Islamic Emirate’s leadership to let female students continue their education.
Without naming a clear date, the Ministry of Education announced Wednesday that girls' secondary schools would remain closed until further notice.