Following the distribution of pamphlets around mosques near the capital of Sar-i-Pul province in Afghanistan warning women against removing their burqas, two girls’ schools were burned down recently, including their supply of books and blackboards. The pamphlets that were distributed are reminiscent of similar leaflets handed out in Kandahar in April, which warned of violence to come if parents sent their daughters to school.
Meanwhile, fighting between two rival factions of the former Northern Alliance, allies of the United States against the Taliban, left five or six villages in Northern Afghanistan reeling from injuries and looting and several men dead, the New York Times reports. The United Nations negotiated a new ceasefire late yesterday after a previous truce had been broken a week earlier, according to Reuters. The two groups, Jumbish-I-Milli, led by ethnic Uzbek Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Panjshiri forces under the command of ethnic Tajik Mohammed Atta, have clashed several times since the Taliban was ousted, according to Radio Free Europe.
These reports of violence in the northern regions of Afghanistan come only weeks after the US State Department issued a report questioning the expansion of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan. The Feminist Majority, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, UN officials, and women’s rights and human rights organization have urged a full-scale expansion of peacekeeping troops throughout the country in order to ensure security and enable reconstruction efforts.