HERAT -- Taliban militants destroyed a newly built school in Qadis District, Badghis Province, proving once again the group's enmity to education, say local residents and authorities.
Construction of the school had ended recently, said Abdullah Mushkwani, acting director of the Badghis Department of Education.
It was expected to open and enrol children by the end of the coronavirus outbreak and upon the resumption of school, said Mushkwani.
The Zad Murad School, with 12 classrooms, was built last year by the Citizens' Charter project, he said.
"The Taliban first planted mines under the pillars of the school building and then blew it up," said Mushkwani of the attack that occurred on May 1.
"With the Taliban destroying the building, hundreds of children have been deprived of going to school, ruining the hopes of local residents who were looking forward to a school [in their area]," he added.
The Taliban once again proved their enmity toward education by demolishing the school, Badghis Governor Abdul Ghafoor Malakzai told reporters on May 2 in Qala-e-Naw, the provincial capital.
"The Taliban have always inflicted destruction on [public property] in Badghis Province. In Badghis alone, the Taliban have committed hundreds of violations of their agreement with the United States," he said, referring to the US-Taliban peace deal reached in February.
"There isn't a single night that the Taliban don't launch an attack. They block roads and commit killings," he said.
Destroying this school is an unforgivable action by the Taliban, said Abdullah Afzali, deputy chairman of the Badghis provincial council.
"The Department of Education is an institution tasked with educating the children of this country, but the Taliban blew up a recently built school, turning it into ruins," he added.
This is a heinous and inhuman act by the Taliban, which is not acceptable for any Afghan citizen, he said.
An un-Islamic and inhuman act
The flattening of the school is yet another example of the Taliban's un-Islamic and inhumane acts, said religious scholars and Badghis residents.
"The attack on schools and destruction of educational institutions are against the values [and teachings] of Islam as these are inhuman acts," said Maulawi Abdul Latif Sediqi, a religious scholar in Badghis Province.
"Islam is the religion of knowledge," he said. "Educational institutions are the eyes of Islamic society. They should not blind and harm the eyes of the nation."
"Destroying schools and educational institutions is an un-Islamic act, and these institutions don't have to do anything with military and political issues," he added.
The Taliban do these evil things because of their ignorance, Sediqi said.
"There is no religious justification for destroying schools, and those who associate this act of destruction with Islam are making an unforgivable mistake," said Sediqi.
"Schools are public property ad have no link to military figures or politicians," he said. "Schools are educational and religious institutions, and no one has the right to destroy them."
"When a school is blown up in a village, it means a prison opens in its place -- a prison for the children and future generation," said Abdul Naser Omerzai, a resident of Qala-e-Naw city.
"This isn't the first incident of school destruction; the Taliban have been breaching the laws of war for nearly 20 years," he said. "Schools are sites where the future generation of Afghans get educated, and the Taliban don't have the right to destroy schools to achieve their personal and political benefits."
"The Taliban have proved during their rule as well as during their anti-government activities that they are the enemies of education, as they haven't allowed the new generation of Afghans to get an education," said Omerzai.
Condemning the Taliban's war
The Taliban's destruction of the school came as about 100 persons with disabilities gathered in neighbouring Herat Province on May 3 to condemn the militants' killing of civilians.
All Afghans are tired of the Taliban's war and atrocities, and the militants should stop their violence and attacks, said Nader Shah Haideri, who attended the demonstration in Herat city.
"Both the Taliban and security forces are Muslims, so why do they kill each other? How long will this bloodshed of innocent Afghans last?" he said.
"Every day we see innocent civilians fall victim to the Taliban's attacks, bomb blasts and violence. This situation is no longer acceptable," he said.
"We ask the parties to the conflict to stop this destructive war," said Abdurrahim Radmanish, a person with a disability in Herat city. "This war should no longer kill or injure more innocent civilians, and it should not orphan more children or take the guardians of more families."
The time has come for all Afghans to embrace each other and put an end to this imposed war, he added.
The war has ruined Afghanistan, and peace can bring security, prosperity and development to the country, said Behnaz Amani, who also attended the protest.
"I call on the Taliban to join the peace process as we are tired of them killing and injuring Afghans every day," he said. "I don't want more people to become disabled in this war, adding to our number."
"Because of the unsafe environment created by war, we cannot leave our homes," said Amani. "Since we are no longer able to tolerate this situation, the Taliban have to make peace."