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Saturday, April 1, 2023

World Bank Pulls Education Projects in Afghanistan over Girls’ School Ban

After the Taliban prevented girls from returning to secondary schools, the World Bank has halted four projects totaling $600 million (£458 million) in Afghanistan.

The programs aimed to improve education, health, and agriculture, among other things.

The bank had previously said that they had a “strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support.”

Following months of restrictions, the Taliban overturned a decision to allow the schools to reopen last week.

According to the Taliban, schools would reopen only when a decision on female students’ clothes is made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan custom.”

International outrage has followed the decision, and on Saturday, demonstrators gathered near the Ministry of Education in Kabul to demand that the schools be reopened.

The World Bank initiatives aimed to provide women and girls in Afghanistan with the same level of access to services as males.

They are funded by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which was put on hold last year when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.

The World Bank’s executive board authorized a proposal to utilize more than $1 billion from the fund to help “critical needs” in education, agriculture, and health at the beginning of this month.

The money was not to be given to Taliban officials, but rather to be disbursed through UN agencies and relief organizations, according to the proposal.

“As a first step, the ARTF donors will choose four $600 million projects to address essential needs in the education, health, and agricultural sectors, as well as community livelihoods,” the bank said in a statement on March 1.

“This $600 million will be augmented with additional ARTF allocations when conditions allow during 2022,” it stated.

“This staged strategy is meant to be flexible and adaptable, taking into account the fact that the situation on the ground is still changing.”

The initiatives will only be revived when the bank is convinced that its objectives can be reached, according to reports.

The Taliban’s activities were condemned as “profoundly troubling” by officials from ten nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, in a joint statement released on Friday.

Meetings with the Taliban that were due to take place in Qatar have also been canceled by the US State Department.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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