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20 Helmand schools used as security bases: official

Security & Crime

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Education

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20 Helmand schools used as security bases: official

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Mar 19, 2018 - 23:53

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Security forces have occupied 20 school buildings and are using them as security posts in different areas of southern Helmand province, the educationinfo-icon director has said.

Talking to Pajhwok on Sunday (March 18), Helmand education director Daud Shah Safari termed it a great injustice with children to convert their schools into security posts.

He said the education system was struggling with other issues as well and the posts had multiplied their problems. He questioned how parents would send their children to schools where armed forces were stationed.

He said the school buildings had been divided between posts and classes.  “Not only in districts and insecure areas, police have established a check-point in a school in Safian area of Lashkargah, the provincial capital.

Daud Shah Safari said the military recently vacated and handed over to the education department the building of the District High School in Nad Ali district after using it for one and a half years.

During the army’s check-post establishment, most of the school’s documents and data had been lost and the building suffered damage as well, he said.

The education official said he might approach private construction companies for repairing the damaged building in Nad Ali district, for which a specific budget was needed.

Safari said some issues his department faced earlier had been resolved but still many problems remained such as the lack of monitoring of schools.

However, he said a monitoring team had been constituted and the group had started its investigation to unearth ‘imaginary’ schools.

According to official statistics, Helmand has 400 schools but 102 of them have been closed, depriving 165,000 students, including 23,000 girls, of education.

Muhibullah, a student of the Nad Ali High School, said they attended classes a separate building until their school served as an army check-post.

He added now the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers had vacated the school but its building had damaged and was not suitable for study.

The student asked the government to reconstruct their school so they were able to continue their studies.

Mohammad Umar, a resident of Safian locality and student of Dosti High School, claimed their school building had been occupied by police where they had established a check-post.

“We are not happy with the situation and seeing people in uniform walk inside the school. Our school administration has many times complained in this regard but nobody paid attention.”

Helmand governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak said as the conflict expanded in Helamd during the past two years, many schools were either closed or shifted elsewhere. During this period, buildings of some schools were used as check-posts.

He added the issue had been discussed in meetings with military officials and check-posts from most of schools had been withdrawn.

Zwak said other security reasons might have resulted in closure of schools in far-flung areas and rejected security posts had been set up in 20 schools.

nh/ma

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