Taliban Tells Male Students in 6th Through 12th Grade to Return to Class, No Word on Girls

The Taliban's education ministry issued a statement telling all male students in sixth through 12th grade and male teachers to return to class, but girls of the same age range were not mentioned.

Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last month, girls in first through sixth grade had been allowed to resume classes. However, the statement published Friday on Facebook neglecting to mention girls older than that has highlighted concerns that the Taliban may again impose restrictions on girls and women.

During the Taliban's previous rule of Afghanistan in the 1990s, women and girls had been forbidden from attending school and work. In some provinces, women are still not allowed to return to work, with exceptions for women working in health departments, hospitals and education.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Afghan School Girls
The Taliban released a statement on Sept. 17, 2021, telling boys in sixth through 12th grade to return to classes, but did not mention girls of the same age range. School girls gather at their class after arriving at a gender-segregated school in Kabul on Sept. 15, 2021. Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

India Raises Concerns of Afghanistan Being Used 'to Spread Terrorism'

India's prime minister says it's essential that the global community collectively decides on whether to recognize the new Taliban government in Afghanistan.

India supports the central role of the United Nations on this issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a video statement on Friday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The economic and security group is made up of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

Modi also said the recent developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban swept into power in a blitz that stunned the world last month, will have the greatest impact on neighboring countries such as India.

Instability and fundamentalism in Afghanistan will lead to terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world, he said. "Other extremist groups may also be encouraged to seek power through violence. We all countries have been victims of terrorism in the past."

"Together we must ensure that the soil of Afghanistan is not used to spread terrorism in any country," Modi added.

India's leader said he sees many other risks from the instability, such as an uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking. A large amount of advanced weapons remain in Afghanistan, he warned and urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to play a positive role in monitoring these flows and enhancing information sharing.

German Commander Who Led Afghan Evacuations Receives Award

Germany's president has bestowed one of the country's highest awards to the commander who led the evacuation of Germans and some Afghans from Kabul last month.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised Brig. Gen. Jens Arlt's leadership of an operation that he said was "unprecedented" in Germany's post-World War II history.

The German military evacuated more than 5,300 citizens of 45 countries from the Afghan capital, as part of a wider international effort to airlift 120,000 people after the Taliban takeover last month.

Steinmeier noted that Arlt had managed to bring home all of his 500 troops unharmed, despite the risks they faced on the ground. He added that "we bear some of the responsibility for human tragedy" in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Yet to Recognize Afghanistan's Taliban Government

Pakistan's prime minister has met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministry's statement on Friday said the two leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's meeting in Tajikistan's city of Dushanbe. The discussion centered on Afghanistan and other bilateral issues, with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan underscoring his country's vital interest in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Khan is visiting Tajikistan to participate in the meeting of members of the China and Russia-dominated organization. Afghanistan's future has dominated the summit.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last month. So far Pakistan, like other countries, has not recognized the new government next door. Pakistan says any such decision will be announced after consultation with the world community.

According to the statement, Khan said it was essential to take urgent steps to stabilize Afghanistan's security, humanitarian and economic situation.

Afghan Women and Girls
The Taliban told male students in sixth through 12th grade to return to classes, but did not mention girls of the same age range, highlighting ongoing concerns that the Taliban will impose restrictions on women and girls again. Afghan women and children receive bread donations in Kabul's Old City, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Bernat Armangue/AP Photo