World Bank Freezes $600m Afghan Fund over Taliban Ban On Girls Education

The World Bank has announced suspension of four projects in Afghanistan worth 600 million after the de-facto Taliban regime in Afghanistan decided to ban girls from public high schools.

The projects, to be funded under the revamped Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), were being readied for implementation by United Nations agencies to support projects in agriculture, education, health and livelihoods, BBC reported.

But the bank’s guidance requires all “ARTF-financed activities to support access to, and equity of services for women and girls” in Afghanistan, the bank said, citing its deep concerns over the Taliban’s ban on girls attending high school.

On 1 March, the bank in a statement said that as a first step, the “ARTF donors will decide on four projects of approximately $600m to support urgent needs in the education, health, and agriculture sectors, as well as community livelihoods.”

“This $600m will be supplemented with additional allocations from the ARTF during 2022 as conditions allow,” it added.

Last week, Taliban shut secondary schools for girls in Afghan capital Kabul and across provinces in Afghanistan, saying it will remain closed until further notice.

On March 26, dozens of girls and women took to the streets and gathered in front of the Ministry of Education in Kabul, and demanded the resumption of classes immediately.

The international community also condemned the Taliban for closing the door of education to the girls, and the US halted preplanned talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

“We joined millions of Afghan families in expressing our deep disappointment with the Taliban’s decision to not allow women and girls to return to secondary school,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The spokesman said the US has canceled planned talks with the Taliban in Doha that were set to address key economic issues.


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