BBC News, June 17, 1998

UN angered by closure of Afghan girls' schools

Kabul's remaining schools teaching girls have been closed

The United Nations has called for an emergency meeting with representatives of Afghanistan's Taleban government, following the forced closure of schools in teaching girls.

The closing of private schools in the Afghan capital, Kabul, which taught over 3,000 girl pupils, was imposed by the Taleban administration on the grounds that the teaching of girls was contrary to the movement's interpretation of Islamic law.

Many of the home-based schools were run by women teachers who were stopped from teaching under the religious laws introduced by the Taleban when the movement seized control of Kabul in September 1996.

The school closures have been interpreted by the United Nations as a violation of an agreement with the Taleban over access to education and health for women in Afghanistan.

The UN says the closing of the remaining 100 schools teaching girls will have a "devastating impact on the welfare of many of the city's neediest people".

The agreement on humanitarian issues between the United Nations and the Taleban last month included the creation of a committee to oversee matters including women's rights to education.

Despite "numerous requests to arrange a date, time and agenda" this committee has never met, said the United Nations.

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