Fatal Shooting Outside Afghan Girls’ School

Two gunmen killed two girls and wounded six others, including a teacher, outside a girls’ school in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Tuesday. The gunmen, who were on a motorbike and have not been identified, attacked the school at midday as students were leaving. Girls’ schools in Afghanistan have been under constant threat from extremists who aim to intimidate families from sending their girl children to school, particularly as the Taliban has resurfaced. Although the Taliban has denied responsibility for this incident, they have warned women and children to stay away from schools and remain at home in the past.

“The sight of girls in school is an obvious sign of progress, and there are those who are afraid of such progress,” said Catherine Mbengue, a representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Afghanistan. “This is a heinous, cowardly act against students and a teacher whose only crime was to be in school. By attacking students and the teacher, the perpetrators are attacking children”s right to education and threatening the very fabric of Afghan society.”

Afghan Education Minister Hanif Atmar immediately condemned the attack, saying, “Those who carried out this cowardly attack are enemies of the country,” the BBC reports.

This shooting follows two other recent murders of Afghan women journalists Shokiba Sanga Amaaj and Zakia Zaki, who was also the headmaster of a girls’ school.

LEARN MORE Read “School’s Out” in the Fall 2006 issue of Ms. magazine about the persecution of teachers and parents who educate girls

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UN News Centre 6/13/07; BBC News 6/12/07

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