Afghanistan: Taliban replaces women's ministry with 'vice and virtue' ministry - as schools reopen for boys

·2-min read

The Taliban has replaced Afghanistan's women's ministry with an all-male "vice and virtue ministry".

The new ministry is tasked with enforcing the group's extreme interpretation of Islam.

Officials at the ministry told the Associated Press they had not been informed whether a new women's ministry is being planned.

It comes as schools across Afghanistan reopened for boys from Saturday, effectively barring girls from secondary education despite the group's previous commitment.

The new Taliban ministry of education's announcement did not mention when girls may be able to return to classes, even in gender-segregated settings.

It said state and private schools at primary and secondary level, as well as official madrasa religious schools, will open from Saturday.

"All teachers and male students should attend school," the statement said.

It comes after staff from the World Bank's $100m (£72m) Women's Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Programme were escorted off the grounds of the old ministry by the Taliban in Kabul.

Sharif Akhtar, a programme member who was escorted out with his staff, said he could not say how or if the programme could continue.

Most educational institutions remain closed across Afghanistan, more than a month after the Taliban seized Kabul.

Girls up to the sixth grade have managed to attend some schools and women have gone to university classes, but high schools for girls have been closed.

The Taliban has said it will not replicate the fundamentalist policies of the previous Taliban government, which banned girls from education.

Girls will be able to study as long as they do so in segregated classrooms, the group has said.

Although the Taliban's leaders have not ordered schools to close, they have said the security situation means many activities for women and girls are not yet possible.

Meanwhile, a series of explosions targeted Taliban vehicles in the capital of Nangarhar province.

The three explosions left at least three dead and 20 wounded.

While no one immediately claimed the attack in Jalalabad, the Islamic State affiliate group ISIS-K, which opposes the Taliban, has its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.

Also on Saturday, a sticky bomb exploded in the capital, wounding two people, police said.

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