AP

Amid UN criticism, Taliban name new education minister

Sep 20, 2022, 5:19 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2022, 5:48 am

FILE - An Afghan girl attends a class in an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 30, 202...

FILE - An Afghan girl attends a class in an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 30, 2022. The Taliban appointed a new education minister, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, days after the United Nations called on the country's new rulers to reopen schools for girls beyond sixth grade. Since seizing power in Afghanistan just over a year ago, the Taliban have restricted the rights of girls to education, despite initial promises to the contrary. The United Nations estimates that more than a million girls have been barred from attending. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban appointed a new education minister for Afghanistan, days after the United Nations called on the country’s new rulers to reopen schools for girls beyond sixth grade.

Since seizing power in Afghanistan just over a year ago, the Taliban have restricted the rights of girls to education, despite initial promises to the contrary. The United Nations estimates that more than a million girls have been barred from attending most of middle school and high school over the past year.

The appointment, which came late on Tuesday and was announced by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujaihid, named Habibullah Agha, the current head of Kandahar Provincial Council, as the new education minister, replacing Noorullah Munir. The first Taliban-appointed education minister was Hemat Akhundzada, who was in the post until last September.

No information was available on Agha.

A year since the Taliban took over the country as the Western-backed government and military crumbled, the U.N. has said it was increasingly concerned that Taliban restrictions on girls’ education, as well as other measures curtailing basic freedoms, would deepen Afghanistan’s economic crisis and lead to greater insecurity, poverty, and isolation.

“This is a tragic, shameful, and entirely avoidable anniversary,” said Markus Potzel, acting head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan.

The Taliban say they are working on a plan to open secondary schools for girls but have not given a timeframe. Still, hard-liners appear to hold sway in the Taliban-run government and women are required to cover themselves from head to toe in public, with only their eyes showing.

While still education minister, Munir was quoted as saying on a recent trip to southern Uruzgan province that people in rural areas do not want to send their daughters to school, describing it as a “cultural issue.”

The Taliban also announced that Mullah Mohammad Mohsin Hashimi, until now the Taliban’s deputy interior minister, would become the governor for northern Panjshir province, where an anti-Taliban opposition force is still active.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

8 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

8 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

8 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

9 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

9 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

12 days ago

Amid UN criticism, Taliban name new education minister