Kabul : Afghanistan school year starts but there are no classes being held.

Afghanistan's school reopened for the new academic year Tuesday, but no classes were held as students were unaware of the start and hundreds of teenage girls remain barred from attending class.

The education ministry made no public announcement of the reopening of schools, several teachers and officials told AFP.

''A letter issued by the minister of education was given to us by pour principal to reopen the school today, but since no public announcement was made, no students came,'' said Mohammed Osman Atayi, a teacher at the Saidal Naseri Boys High School in Kabul.

AFP journalists toured seven schools in Kabul and saw only a few teachers and primary students arriving but no classes were held.

Schools also reopened in provinces including Herat, Kunduz, Ghazni and Badakhshan but no lessons were held there either. AFP correspondent reported.

Late on Tuesday, Education Minister Habibullah Agha confirmed in a statement that schools up to grade six ''will currently be open for girls,'' effectively retaining a ban on high school for girls.

Hundreds of thousands of teenage girls across the country remain barred from secondary school.

''The Taliban have snatched everything away from us,'' said 15-year-old Sadaf Haidari, a resident of Kabul who should have started grade 12 this year but is confined to her home while her brother attends classes.

''My brother and I used to go to school together daily but now he goes alone,'' Rahimi told AFP.

''I'm just forced to watch him to school while while we are not allowed.''

Tuesday's start of the new academic year coincided with Nawruz, the Persian New Year, celebrated widely in Afghanistan before the Taliban returned to power but now considered ''illegal'' by the country's new rulers. [AFP]


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