The Taliban has banned girls from going back to high school after it promised all students would be able to return to school.
The announcement came on Tuesday (Mar. 22) night, and several students, parents, and teachers were unaware of restrictions until they arrived to class on Wednesday morning, the first day of the academic year.
They were then told to return home.
The education ministry said that it had informed all girls’ high schools and schools that have women students above class six that they would be “off until the next order,” the BBC reported.
The Taliban has justified the closure of secondary education by saying they must review school uniforms for girls.
A Ministry of Education spokesperson said that it will compile a comprehensive plan regarding girls’ uniforms “in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture and traditions, as well as the ruling of the Islamic Emirate” before officially informing girls schools and high schools.
Girl students in high school have been unable to return to school since the Taliban took over in August last year.
“Is it a crime to be a girl? Is it a crime we want to study?” one girl said in an interview with local media, according to the Guardian.
The decision has been condemned by international human rights organizations and Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls to be allowed to go to school.
During its rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, banning girls and women from going to school and working and requiring them to be accompanied by a male relative and wear a burqa at all times in public.
Women who disobeyed were whipped or executed. Cultural activities and media, such as art, movies and music, were also prohibited.