New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS): The Taliban have effectively banned girls from secondary education in Afghanistan, by ordering high schools to reopen only for boys.
The edict makes Afghanistan the only country on earth to bar half its population from getting a secondary education, the Guardian reported.
Girls were not mentioned in Friday's announcement, which means boys will be back at their desks next week after a one-month hiatus, while their sisters will still be stuck at home, the newspaper said in the report.
The Taliban Education Ministry said secondary school classes for boys in grades seven to 12 would resume on Saturday, the start of the Afghan week.
"All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions," the statement said.
The future of girls and female teachers, stuck at home since the Taliban took control, was not addressed, the Guardian report said.
In a further sign that the recently announced Taliban government is tightening restrictions on women, the former ministry of women's affairs building in Kabul has been handed over to the newly re-established ministry for the prevention of vice and promotion of virtue.
This was the group's feared enforcer in the 1990s, charged with beating women who violated bars on everything from going out in public without a male guardian to an obsessively prescriptive dress code that even forbade high heels, the report said.
The decision on education has worrying echoes of the tactics the Taliban used in the 1990s, when they last ruled Afghanistan, to bar girls from school without issuing a formal prohibition.