Taliban appoint new education minister amid UN criticism

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban appointed Afghanistan’s new education minister days after the United Nations called on Afghanistan’s new ruler to reopen schools for girls after grade six.

Since coming to power in Afghanistan just over a year ago, the Taliban have restricted girls’ education rights. The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million of her girls have been barred from attending most secondary and high schools in the past year.

The appointment, made late Tuesday and announced by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, named Habibullah Agha, the current chairman of the Kandahar provincial council, as the new education minister to succeed Noorra Munir. . The first education minister appointed by the Taliban was Hemat Akhundzada, who held the position until September last year.

There was no information about Agha.

A year after the West-backed government and military collapsed and the Taliban took over the country, the United Nations said Taliban restrictions on girls’ education and other measures restricting basic freedoms were hurting Afghanistan’s economy. It deepens crises and leads to greater insecurity, poverty and isolation.

“This is a tragic, shameful and completely avoidable anniversary,” said Marcus Potzel, the UN mission’s representative in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said they were working on plans to open a secondary school for girls, but did not specify when. Still, hardliners seem to control the Taliban-run government, and women are required to cover themselves from head to toe in public, leaving only their eyes exposed.

Munir, who is still minister of education, was quoted as saying during a recent visit to southern Uruzgan province that people in rural areas were reluctant to send their daughters to school and it was a “cultural problem”. .

The Taliban also announced that Mullah Mohammad Mohsin Hashimi, formerly the Taliban’s deputy interior minister, would become governor of northern Panjshir province, where anti-Taliban opposition remains active.

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