Security

Taliban set fire to high school in Takhar, burning 10,000 books

By Hedayatullah

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Dr. Abdul Latif Shaheed High School burns after being set on fire by the Taliban on July 14. [Social media]

KUNDUZ -- The Taliban set fire to a high school in Taloqan, Takhar Province, on Tuesday (July 14) after using the building to shoot at security forces, destroying most of the facility's equipment and educational materials, police officials say.

The militants established a position in Dr. Abdul Latif Shaheed High School while the school was shut because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Abdul Khalil Aseer, a spokesman for the Takhar Police.

Schools have been closed throughout Afghanistan for the past few months to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Taliban opened fire from the school building at 6pm on a security convoy that was passing through the area, Aseer said.

"Taliban militants were engaged in fighting with the Afghan security forces for an hour, and as they tried to withdraw, they set fire to the school building," he said.

"The Taliban used this school as a military base, and after they set fire to the school building, the library, laboratory, furniture, educational materials and books were burned," he added.

The ambush caused no casualties among the security forces, said Aseer.

About 1,000 boys and girls attended the facility when it was open.

"In this incident, the school library burned with all of its 10,000 books," said Rohullah Mohaqiq, director of the Takhar Department of Education.

Mohaqiq called on parties to the conflict to refrain from targeting schools and to allow children to receive a proper education.

In addition to educational books, religious books including Tafseer [the interpretation of the Koran], Hadith, Fiqh and copies of the Koran were destroyed in the fire, said Muhammad Azam Afzali, a member of the Takhar provincial council.

"The name of the Prophet Muhammad was printed in those books, but they burned them to ashes," said Afzali.

A committee has been assigned to assess the losses from the fire and the local government will soon repair the school, said Muhammad Jawad Hejri, a spokesman for the Takhar governor.

Targeting schools

The incident comes as the Taliban have stepped up their violent campaign across Afghanistan, with officials blaming the insurgents for killing hundreds of security personnel and civilians in recent weeks.

Their attacks have threatened the peace accord signed with the United States in February as well planned talks with the Afghan government to end the insurgency.

This is the second school that the Taliban have burned in Takhar Province in the past six months.

On February 3, the Taliban set fire to a girls' school in Bodala village in the outskirts of Taloqan, also burning all its educational materials and books.

Following the recent attack, local residents urged the Taliban to stop attacking schools and let their children go to school.

"Targeting schools is a crime against humanity," said Sayed Hashmatullah Haqjo, a resident of Takhar Province.

"As this group attack our schools today, tomorrow they will definitely kill our students and teachers," he said.

"Our government begs the international community for school buildings and other projects of public interest, and look how easily and mercilessly the Taliban set fire to them," said Muhammad Omar Ghayour, a tribal elder in Takhar Province.

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This is not a new thing that they have burned the Scripture of God. We Muslims do whatever we can just for Islam and not spare anything from it. The Scripture of God is a miracle, and God Himself said in the Holy Quran, “We descended the Holy Quran and will protect it.” So, does Quran change by burning the copies of it? But no, it doesn’t. In conjunction with disrespect against the Scripture of God, I have to say that the important issue is who can execute God’s rules? And we chanted the slogans of Islam for centuries, but we raised the seeds of Satan instead. In the maternity hospital, we shot at even pregnant women, and one-day or maybe one-hour new born babies together with their guardians who were standing beside the patients in order to comfort them or were waiting to welcome the new born babies. God’s Scripture has owner, and its owner is undoubtedly Omnipotent God. Who can give the answer for the blood of the new born babies who are like the angels? Does the current government give answer or one of the militant groups that operate under the name of Islam, but are in fact the slaves of one of the foreign counties?

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Peace will not come in this country. When the people of a country are so foolish and ignorant that they have to burn their educational centers, do you think peace will come in that country? Never. During the past forty years, people themselves have destroyed this country and have prevented it from its growth and development. Foreigners are not blameful. If we were clever people and loved our country, the foreigners would have never invaded this country. It was us who have always paved the way for the foreign forces to come to our country. If we compromised among ourselves and the interests of our country were more important to us than anything else, now our country would not have been sold. Now Americans would not have been here. Now Pakistan would not have been able to fire rockets at Kunar province. All the miseries of this country are because of the unrighteous children of this country that have always stabbed into the chest of this country and made it wounded. Death to the ignorant people and mercenaries and the puppets of the alien countries.

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Taliban are the enemy of science and knowledge; that’s why they burn schools.

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It is very disappointing that educational centers are burned or destroyed in the war. We strictly demand from both parties engaged in the war not to harm public properties, such as clinics and educational centers, because they are considered public infrastructures.

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Taliban are the enemy of education. Over the past twenty years, Taliban have burned hundreds of schools and deprived thousands of children from the right to study. I think Pakistan is directly involved in burning of schools in Afghanistan, because this country does not want Afghanistan to make progress, to have good economy, to have a strong and professional army and to have a strong system. And all of these are possible through education and knowledge. If our youths study, get educated and have good lives, then they will never hold arms and oppose their government. They will try to compete with other countries in the areas of science, technology, sports, and other spheres of life, and will raise the three-color flag of Afghanistan across the world. Therefore, Pakistan is very much afraid of this, and it always orders extremist groups to destroy schools, clinics, bridge and other infrastructures of Afghanistan.

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