KABUL: Two people were killed when three blasts struck the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday, at least one of which targeted a Taliban vehicle, in the country’s first deadly attack since the United States withdrew.
“In one attack a Taliban vehicle patrolling in Jalalabad was targeted,” a Taliban official who asked not to be named told AFP.
“Women and children were among the injured,” he added. An official from the health department of Nangarhar Province told AFP that three people died and 18 were wounded, while several local media reported the attacks left at least two dead.
Saturday’s bombing came as the Taliban ordered boys and male teachers to return to secondary school in Afghanistan — but girls were excluded. The diktat from the education ministry was the latest move from the new government to threaten women’s rights. “All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions,” a statement said ahead of classes resuming Saturday, the first day of the week in Afghanistan. The statement, issued late Friday, made no mention of women teachers or girl pupils.
Secondary schools, with students typically between the ages of 13 and 18, are often segregated by sex. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they have faced repeated closures and have been shut since the Taliban seized power.
Since a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban in 2001, significant progress has been made in girls’ education, with the number of schools tripling and female literacy nearly doubling to 30 percent — however, the change was largely limited to the cities. The United Nations said it was “deeply worried” for the future of girls’ schooling in Afghanistan. “It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching,” the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said.
In a further sign that the Taliban’s approach to women and girls had not softened, a sign outside the ministry of women’s affairs was replaced with another — declaring the feared department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The Taliban have shown little inclination to honour those rights — no women have been included in the government and many have been stopped from returning to work. Meanwhile, a top United States general admitted it had made a “mistake” when it launched a drone strike against suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Kabul last month, instead killing 10 civilians, including children.