Taliban conditionally allow Bakwah schools’ reopening
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): The Taliban have allowed schools in the Bakwah district of western Farah province to resume operating under the condition that as many religious seminaries should be established, tribal elders said on Thursday.
Abdullah Bakwahi, a tribal elder in Shan village, told Pajhwok Afghan News that two primary schools had been established in the town 37 years ago but they ceased functioning during the 1992 civil war.
Local officials said a school was made functional in the district about eight years ago, but it was closed after a landmine blast.
Bakwahi said the provincial education department had recently launched 18 classes in mosques in various areas being taught Islamiat and Pashtu subjects by a teacher.
He said Bakwah was a large district with a population of more than 4000 people mostly youth, but all the population remained deprived of education.
“The economic situation of our people is not good. Residents cannot send their children to the provincial capital or Pakistan and Iran for education. We will welcome if the government reopens schools here.”
He said the Taliban had long been opposing reopening of schools, but now they had agreed to their reopening.
The Taliban have said nothing about their willingness to allow schools in Bakwah to be reopened, but they have ordered schools shut in most of areas they control.
Abdul Zahir, the district reconstruction head, confirmed Bakwahi statement, saying local elders had negotiated the issue with the Taliban’s local commander about two months ago.
He said the Taliban had allowed reopening of schools in the town by the government under the condition that religious seminaries equaling the number of schools should be set up.
Another tribal elder and resident of Ghaziabad village, Mohammad Yunas, said local residents had welcomed the Taliban’s decision to allow the schools to be reopened.
“It is our collective desire that schools must be functional in the district,” he said.
He said the lack of schools in the district had rendered all children and youth illiterate and many young people had started using drugs.
The elder said people were ready to provide security if the government established more schools in the district.
A day earlier, tribal elders from the Bakwah district met with the provincial governor, Mohammad Asif Nang, and informed him about the Taliban’s decision.
Nang expressed pleasure with the development and said Taliban’s opposition to the schools had been the main hurdle. He said the government would establish buildings for seven schools in the district using the available resources.
The new academic year starts in Farah about four months later. Bakwah is northeast of Farah City, the provincial capital, and is the most volatile district.
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