UNICEF suspends community-based classes in Kandahar

Global reactions to the Taliban’s latest restrictions on women’s rights to education and work continued with UINCEF suspending its 1,588 community-based classes in the south-western province of Kandahar.

“We were informed of the decision yesterday and were told not return to work until further notice,” a teacher from Kandahar told KabulNow. “We will not get paid until the classes resume, and I am very concerned for my family’s future,” he added. 

Another teacher contacted by KabulNow said that “depriving children of education was unacceptable. Most of my students were girls. Many were shocked by the news, some fainted and needed medical attention.” 

KabulNow reached an official from the Taliban’s Education Directorate in Kandahar. He said he was not aware of the suspension. 

On 8 December 2022, UNICEF announced that it was planning to expand its community-based classes to get 600,000 more children learning. The organisation also announced that it was repairing classes in order to provide “safer and more conducive learning.” 

Following the Taliban’s order to ban women from universities and work for NGOs, major international aid agencies, including Save the Children, the International Recue Committee, CARE International and the Norwegian Refugee Council have suspended operations in Afghanistan. 

The Taliban chief spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, reacted angrily by saying that organisations wanting to operate in Afghanistan must adhere to the group’s rules. “We do not allow anyone to talk rubbish or make threats regarding the decisions of our leaders under the title of humanitarian aid,” he tweeted.