What is it like to visit Afghanistan
"Education in Afghanistan under attack"
The UN children's aid organization UNICEF laments a growing number of attacks on schools and educational institutions in Afghanistan. The number of such incidents tripled in 2018 compared to the previous year from 68 to 192, said the aid organization. According to UNICEF, one reason for this was that schools were used as registration and polling stations for the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan last year. The attacks were primarily directed against the election.
"Education is under attack in Afghanistan," complained Executive Director Henrietta Fore. The senseless assaults on schools, the killing, injuring or kidnapping of teachers and the threats faced by educational institutions have shattered the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children.
More than 1000 schools closed
UNICEF pointed out that due to the rapidly deteriorating security situation, more than 1,000 schools had to be closed by the end of 2018, according to the Afghan government. The unofficial number is likely to be much higher. Half a million children are denied access to education, according to UNICEF.
Girls - here in a school in Kandahar - have a particularly difficult time in Afghanistan (archive)
Above all, the Taliban regularly use the control over schools in their sphere of influence as a means of pressure to enforce demands on the government in Kabul or to take revenge.
3.7 million children do not go to school
An estimated 3.7 million children between the ages of seven and 17 - almost half of all school-age children in Afghanistan - do not receive regular education. The war against the Taliban and against the terrorist groups Al-Qaeda and "Islamic State", the growing poverty and ongoing discrimination against girls led to fewer children going to school for the first time since 2002, according to the UN. 60 percent of these children are girls.
Together with the Afghan government and other partners, the UN Children's Fund is working to enable informal educational opportunities in the communities. This includes teaching in community centers or private homes in order to avoid dangerous trips to school.
On the occasion of the opening of the third international "Safe Schools" conference in Spain on Monday, UNICEF urged all warring parties to stop attacks on schools worldwide and to protect children and educational institutions in armed conflicts.
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