Potzel urges girls’ schools above grade 6 be reopened

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Markus Potzel, the deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) called for the reopening of girls’ school beyond grade six.

The schools have remained closed for female students in grades 7-12.

“I can’t express my feeling about being deprived of the school for over one year. When I think that I can’t go to school it hurts me,” said Fatima, a student.

“I haven’t gone to school for over a year. I have faced a lot challenges—it affected my mental health and morale,” said Sahar, a student.

Markus Potzel, the UN’s deputy special representative, said that Afghanistan is the only country where girls are deprived of going to school.

“It is necessary to reopen the schools for girls because education is important for the society. If the girls don’t have access to the school, they can’t go to the universities,” he said.

“Afghanistan is the only country that girls lack opportunities to go to the schools above grade six or high school. We ask the Afghan government to give this opportunity for the girls,” Potzel said.

The closure of the girls’ schools above grade six has faced strong reactions from the international community.

The US special envoy for Afghanistan’s women and human rights, Rina Amiri, in an interview with the Doha Forum said that the “Taliban” made promises to reopen the girls’ schools but this did “not happen.”

“I think it was really crushing, most crushing for the girls of Afghanistan. I mean it was just so painful to see these young girls full of hope with their—you know- uniforms on, their white veils and black outfits, getting ready to go to school and being turned away,” she said. “And I think it broke the world’s heart to see, you know everyone has known what Afghan women have been through.”

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