Education In Afghanistan: Running In Reverse
The Taliban is announcing that it will open its own peculiar type of "school" throughout Afghanistan:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- The Taliban said it will open its own schools in areas of southern Afghanistan under its control, an apparent effort to win support among local residents and undermine the Western-backed government's efforts to expand education.Not too long ago, the Taliban (and their hate-filled ideology) was in full retreat.
The announcement follows a violent campaign by the fundamentalist Islamic group against state schools in the five years since its ouster by U.S.-led forces. The Taliban destroyed 200 schools and killed 20 teachers last year, and President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that 200,000 children had been driven from the classroom.
Abdul Hai Muthmahien, the purported chief spokesman for the militants, said the group will begin providing Islamic education to students in March in at least six southern provinces, funded by $1 million from the Taliban's ruling council.
He said education would be available to boys first and later to girls, but he did not explain if there had been a change in Taliban thinking about schooling girls. During its rule, it banned girls from schools in Kabul, the capital, although elsewhere it sometimes permitted their schooling until age 8, but only to study the Koran.
"The U.S. and its allies are doing propaganda against the Taliban," Muthmahien said via telephone from an undisclosed location late Saturday. "The Taliban are not against education. The Taliban want Shariah [Islamic] education."
The UN mission in Afghanistan derided the announcement, saying it could not be taken seriously.
And they are getting stronger.
If nothing is done to stop them, the Taliban will obtain its goal of returning the entire nation of Afghanistan to the 7th century.