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Taliban Allow Teenage Afghan Girls Back in Some Provincial Schools—but Not in Kabul

The Taliban has allowed middle and high school girls to resume studies across several provinces in northern Afghanistan. The move may be an indication of how the Islamist group’s policies on key issues such as education for girls and women are being influenced by the international community and cultural differences within the country. Earlier this year, the Taliban reopened schools for male students, yet made no mention of their female counterparts. Boys and girls are now being taught separately in elementary schools have reopened for all. The decision to open secondary schools for girls in the northern provinces, where women typically have more active roles in society than in the south and east, has not been highly publicized but was confirmed by teachers, students, and a Taliban spokesman.

The move has sparked hope that the Taliban is willing to shape policy around cultural differences across Afghanistan. This would mark a shift from the 1990s, where the group imposed harsh social rules on everyone under their tule. However, schools for girls in Kabul have not reopened. The provinces of Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan, Balkh, and Kunduz have been able to start educating women again, frequently visited by Taliban representatives.

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