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School opens in southern Afghan district, after years of conflict

Afghanistan has after many years of war opened school for first time in the Baghran district of southern Helmand province following an agreement between the…

Afghanistan has after many years of war opened school for first time in the Baghran district of southern Helmand province following an agreement between the Taliban and tribal leaders, officials said on Wednesday.

“The school now provides education for up to 200 male students,’’ the head of the provincial Education Department, Dawood Safari, told newsmen.

According to the Central Statistics Office, Baghran, with a population of around 106,000, is one of the most under-developed and remote districts of Helmand province.

The district is fully under Taliban control.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the militants have the policy of assisting the central Afghan government in opening new schools or re-opening schools that were shut earlier.

The opening of the school in Helmand was cheered on social media.

While the Taliban militants barred all women and girls from education during their reign between 1996 and 2001, they now allow girls to attend schools.

However, to what extent varies throughout different regions of the country.

Mujahid spoke of a number of girls’ schools in the Taliban-controlled districts of Sherzad in eastern Nangarhar province and Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand province.

Currently, around 70 per cent of schools in Helmand province are located in Taliban-controlled areas.

The newly-opened school has four teachers for pupils from first to third grades, according to Safari.

According to a UN report published in June, no fewer than 3.7 million Afghan children cannot go to school, due to conflict, cultural barriers and massive poverty.

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