Security

Taliban torch school in Takhar, continue campaign against girls' education

By Hedayatullah

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A photograph taken February 3 shows Bodala Girls' Middle School in Taloqan, Takhar Province, hours after the Taliban set it on fire. [Nasrat Rahimi/Facebook]

KUNDUZ -- The Taliban are continuing to show animosity toward Afghan women and girls in Takhar Province after the militants set fire to a girls' school in a village near the provincial capital Monday (February 3).

The Taliban set fire to Bodala Girls' Middle School, 5km from Taloqan city, at 11am, burning all of its contents, said Muhammad Jawad Hejri, spokesman for the Takhar governor. The school was not in session at the time of the blaze.

"Girls attended this school, and as [the Taliban] don't want girls to go to school, they set fire to the school building," he said.

"The local government has assigned a committee to undertake a complete assessment of the incident," he said.

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Damage to Bodala Girls' Middle School in Taloqan, Takhar Province, can be seen after Taliban militants set it on fire on February 3. [Nasrat Rahimi/Facebook]

Rohullah Mohaqiq, director of the Takhar Department of Education, confirmed the incident, saying 292 girls attended the school.

"Unfortunately, the enemies of education have set fire to our girls' school, where four classrooms, 200 various books, seven tents, 50 tables and chairs, four water coolers and other pieces of equipment have been completely burned," he said.

"The books had the names of 'Allah' and 'Muhammad' on them, and they have been burned to ashes," he added.

Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, mentioned the incident, including the destruction of school materials and the Koran, on his Facebook page.

"The Taliban's enmity toward women and even children's education is nothing new as they have several times destroyed schools, mosques, hospitals, roads, bridges and [other] public installations on the orders of outsiders," he wrote.

About 400,000 students -- 43% of whom are girls -- are enrolled at 600 schools in the provincial centre and 16 districts of the province, according to the Takhar Department of Education.

Obstacle to education

Two years ago, the Taliban shut down dozens of schools in Takhar Province, depriving 11,000 children of an education.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested Taliban shadow education director Amir Mohammad Muzamel in May 2018. Since then, the militants have continued to target educational institutions, even threatening to kill principals, teachers and students.

In May 2018, the Taliban attacked girls' schools in districts of the province under militant control, said Wafiullah Rahmani, chairman of the Takhar provincial council.

"The Taliban didn't allow girls over sixth grade to go to school in six districts of Takhar," he said. "They enforced their own laws at schools and even shut down some schools in these districts."

A month later, district officials -- with the help of tribal elders -- were able to reopen 20 schools the group had closed in Darqad, Yangi Qala, Ishkamish, Khwaja Bahauddin, Dasht-e-Qala and Khwaja Ghar districts.

This year, female students faced security restrictions in some districts of the province, but these issues have been resolved with the help of local elders, said Mohaqiq, the director of the Takhar Department of Education.

"The Taliban even turned schools into their bases in these districts, due to which a number of school buildings have sustained damage," he said.

"As students are now on holiday, we're trying to repair and rehabilitate the schools that have seen destruction during the conflicts," Mohaqiq added.

'Cowardly act'

Local residents called on the Taliban to stop targeting schools and to allow their children to get an education.

"Attacking schools is a big crime against humanity," said Muhammad Azeem Rasooli, a civil society activist in Takhar Province.

"As this barbaric group targets our schools today, I believe it will kill our students and teachers tomorrow as well," he said.

"You see that the Afghan government begs the international community for money to build schools, but look how easily [the Taliban] sets fire to them," said Qazi Abdul Basir Taloqani, a tribal elder in Takhar Province.

The Taliban set fires to schools, madrassas, mosques, public installations, security checkpoints, roads, clinics and other places, "which is a cowardly act", he added.

The Taliban have attacked dozens of mosques in Takhar and Kunduz provinces on the pretext of targeting military personnel. Last April, for example, the Taliban blew up a mosque in Dasht-e-Qala District.

Taloqani called on parties to the conflict not to turn schools into military bases and to let their children determine their future.

Security agencies have started their investigations into the latest incident, said Takhar police spokesman Abdul Khalil Aseer.

"We are trying to arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible and hand them over to law enforcement," he said.

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Dear friends, I read all your comments. Did Rouhani come with his turban and set fire to your country? Did Imran Khan come with his plate of lentils and poured a barrel of oil on the desks and chairs of our schools? No, these were our own Afghans who destroyed their country. Why doesn't the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs make time table for our Priests, religious scholars and the preachers of the mosques for delivering speech?? Why isn't the topic that should be communicated to the people on Friday sermons is not determined? Why hasn't a preacher said so far in Friday prayers that burning schools, destroying bridges, culverts, etc., and public places is a big sin? Why don't they say that the repetition of a big sin often leads to infidelity? Why do these preachers issue fatwas that eating the balls (testicles) of a sheep is unlawful? Does repeating this finally lead to infidelity and a person become even an infidel? By shedding the blood of a Muslim brother, burning schools and destroying this mother's house, no one becomes an infidel, but becomes judge on behalf of God, but a Muslim becomes an infidel by eating a sheep's balls repeatedly. Why, why, why??? After all, all these whys become without why (They become without answer). I call on the religious scholars to officially issue right fatwa through the media to avoid confusion among the people.

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This is the act of Pakistan. Pakistan wants the people of Afghanistan to remain ignorant so that they can reach their goals.

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We should not blame others for our own ignorance, illiteracy and stupidity. These devastation and misery were not brought by 200 million Pakistanis, and Iranians on this land. Even if they had brought it, a very small number of them would have been involved. The rest were all our own Afghans. Why do we blame Iran, Jewish Pakistan, infidel and pagan Christians, and such and such for our own stupidity, illiteracy, treachery, and not-loving homeland??? Are all the peoples of the world bad, infidel, corrupt, vagrant, and vicious altogether, and only we Afghans are the purest creatures on earth? Why don't you form a group from them to blow up the schools, the mosques, the bridges and the culverts in Pakistan and Iran??? Why??? Please answer?? The reason is that they are clever and they have sense; they are not like sheep, as we are. We hate our own people, but love strangers. These are all pains. Why should my children be deprived of acquiring science and knowledge today because of you Afghans who became mercenaries of foreign countries? Know that you foreign mercenaries are worse than they are. Why? Because you do it for money and getting wealt. You forgot God and stretched out your hand to the servant of God because of a piece of bread, and you found the servant of God superior to God Himself. Now think yourself, use your own understanding and intelligence. Is it rational or not? Anyway, neither Russia nor the United States or other countries, which are on the tip of tongue of th

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Death to the savage and criminal Taliban. Taliban have shown their real face to the people that they are the real enemy of the development and progress of this country. They are trying to prevent the country’s children from getting education so that they can achieve their aims.

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This is done by Arbakies [local police]. Whatever work one does in this country, Taliban are considered responsible for it. The government should try to disarm the Arbakies. They commit horrifying acts in the North [of the country] especially in Takhar. They do everything for the sake of money.

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I think this act is not committed by Taliban. These are some thieves who commit such works for the sake of money and this way they defame Taliban.

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I think Takhar police are involved in this incident, because the school is burnt in the capital of the province. what is the job of police of the city is? If they cannot maintain security in the city, then they have to resign. or they have to be arrested and investigated for the incident.

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