Thousands more Afghan school books torched: ministry
KABUL, Aug 29, 2008 (AFP) – Unknown attackers torched about 8,300 new textbooks headed for schools in northeastern Afghanistan, the education ministry said Friday, days after 100,000 were destroyed in a similar incident.
The books were unloaded from two trucks on Thursday and then set alight, ministry of education spokesman Hamid Elmi told AFP. The drivers were unharmed, he said.
“More than 8,300 school books were torched when the trucks entered (Nuristan province),” he said. “The religious books were included in those torched by the opposition of the government.”
The term “opposition” refers to Taliban and other radical Islamic factions involved in a wide-ranging insurgency that targets troops as well as government institutions and development projects.
About 100,000 books were destroyed in a similar attack in the central province of Ghazni on Monday.
Insurgents have particularly targeted schools, one of the successes of development since the fall of the 1996-2001 Taliban regime which neglected the education sector and refused to allow girls into lessons.
Violence left 220 pupils and teachers dead in 2007, the education ministry said last month. The UN’s children’s organisation UNICEF said in April that there had been 236 attacks on schools in 2007.