Four girls’ schools in Afghanistan were attacked this weekend—two were hit by rockets and two were set on fire, Reuters reports. Damage was sustained by the schools but there were no reported injuries. All of the schools were located near the Afghan capitol of Kabul in the Wardak province.
These incidents mark an escalation of violence against girls’ schools in Afghanistan. At least eight other girls’ schools have been attacked over the last two months, with the most recent explosion at a school in Kandahar injuring a teacher. Hand-written pamphlets were distributed in Kandahar, the former Taliban stronghold, in April warning of violence to come if women took on jobs or attended school. Kandahar was the site of the recent attempted assassination of Afghan President Hamid Karzai that wounded the governor of Kandahar.
Seven other girls’ schools have also been targets of violence, including a school in the Wardak province that was forced to close by a group of gunmen earlier this month. In addition, two schools in the northern provinces were burned to the ground and three in the southeastern province of Zabul. Another school was bombed in Ghazni province last month, according to Reuters.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday publicly warned that his government would no longer tolerate violence and feuding in the vast areas of the country under the control of local warlords who allied with the United States against the Taliban, according to the Washington Post. US Army General Tommy Franks confirmed that violence in Afghanistan has decreased some but stresses that the security situation is still “dangerous” and “uneven,” according to the American Forces Press Service.
Despite the continued violence in Afghanistan, the State Department last month issued a report questioning the expansion of peacekeeping troops outside of Kabul. Afghan women have indicated that security is their top priority. Threats to Loya Jirga delegates who have spoken out for human rights, including Minister of Women’s Affairs Dr. Sima Samar; the assassination of two government ministers; violence against women in the Northern provinces; violence against humanitarian aid workers; and the continued use of tactics of intimidation against the return of girls to school show the need for expansion of peace keeping forces both within and beyond Kabul is desperate.
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