Hours after the education ministry announced that schools would reopen across several provinces, the Taliban ordered students to go home.

The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles.
The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles. (Reuters Archive)

The Taliban has ordered secondary girls schools in Afghanistan to shut just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion over the policy reversal by the movement. 

"Yes, it's true," Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani said on Wednesday when asked to confirm reports that girls had been ordered home.

An AFP team was filming at Zarghona High School in the capital Kabul when a teacher entered and ordered everyone to go home.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Education Ministry has said schools would reopen across several provinces – including the capital Kabul.

Crestfallen students, back in class for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, tearfully packed up their belongings and filed out. 

READ MORE: Taliban to 'very soon' allow secondary school for girls, UN official says

A slew of restrictions on women

The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles.

The international community has made the right to education for all a sticking point in negotiations over aid and recognition, with several nations and organisations offering to pay teachers.

All schools were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic when the Taliban took over in August – but only boys and some younger girls were allowed to resume classes two months later.

The Taliban have imposed a slew of restrictions on women, effectively banning them from many government jobs, policing what they wear and preventing them from travelling outside of their cities alone.

It is common for Afghan pupils to miss chunks of the school year as a result of poverty or conflict, and some continue lessons well into their late teens or early twenties.

READ MORE: Afghanistan's universities reopen for first time after Taliban takeover

Source: AFP