The Taliban prevented girls above the 6th grade in Afghanistan from making their much-anticipated return to school on Wednesday. Just hours after schools for girls were due to open, the Taliban ordered them to shut down again. Teenage girls in Afghanistan have now been denied their right to an education for 187 days.
Under increasing international pressure, the Taliban had originally said that schools would open for all students -- including girls -- after the Afghan new year, which is celebrated on March 21, on the condition that boys and girls were separated either in different schools or by different learning hours.
But on Wednesday, girls above the 6th grade were told to stay at home until a school uniform appropriate to Sharia and Afghan customs and culture can be designed, the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency reported. The decision is likely to spark widespread international condemnation. US diplomats said the Taliban's move was "disappointing."