KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the ruling Taliban on Sunday to re-open girls’ high schools and applauded female students in the eastern province of Paktia who residents said have been publicly protesting against the measure.
“The voice of Paktia’s female students is the voice of all our girls and of Afghanistan,” tweeted Karzai. “We ask the acting Islamic government to open the schools,” he said. Taliban made a sudden U-turn on vows to open girls’ highschools in March. Authorities in Paktia said this week that girls’ high schools had re-opened, though the move had not been officially approved. But three locals and three Taliban officials said schools were shut on Saturday. One person said the closure had prompted girls to protest. Video footage showed dozens of girls marching down a street while chanting.