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Afghanistan: Attacks on schools on the rise

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Kabul, 31 July (AKI) – Security incidents in schools and threats against students and teachers in Afghanistan have spiked in recent months, disrupting education in the country, which this year has seen some of the worst violence since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to the United Nations mission there.

“Over 30 attacks against schools, many involving the torching or blowing up of school premises have been reported in all parts of the country from January until June” Nilab Mobarez, Information Officer with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said at a press conference in Kabul .

Deliberate attacks on girls and female teachers have resulted in at least four deaths and six injuries so far this year, he told reporters.

According to estimates by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 262 of the total 740 schools in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul are currently unable to provide education to their students.

“UNAMA appeals to all parties concerned for the resumption of normal education activities across the country, particularly in the south, so that boys and girls can exercise their right to education in a peaceful and secure environment,” Mr. Mobarez said.

Speaking out recently against continued attacks against schools and schoolchildren, Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF’s Representative in Afghanistan, expressed the agency’s concern at the incidents and intimidation in some communities aimed at stopping families from sending children to school.

“Schools of course are a visible sign of reconstruction and progress, and there are those who perhaps fear such progress,” she stated.

UNICEF continues to be in discussion with local leaders, village elders and religious leaders to identify ways in which education can be continued, she said, adding that the agency stands ready to support any initiative “that will keep children learning in safety.”

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Written by afghandevnews

July 31, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Education, Security

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