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Suspected Taliban destroy Afghan coed school
01/08/2006
Insurgents claim educating girls is against Islam.
Suspected Taliban gunmen destroyed a coed primary school in the main southern Afghan city Sunday, first tying up two security guards before setting the buildings on fire, officials said. The attack in Kandahar was the latest in a spate of assaults that have forced many schools to close. The insurgents claim that educating girls is against Islam and they even oppose government-funded schools for boys because they teach subjects besides religion. Suspected Taliban insurgents last Tuesday beheaded the headmaster of another coed school in the region. In Sunday's attack, a group of men raided Qabail Primary School before dawn, briefly detaining its guards but not hurting them, said Hayabullah Rafiqi Othak, Kandahar province's education director. The assailants then went into each classroom, making bonfires of books and wooden desks that eventually razed the whole school, he said. Some 700 girls and boys had studied at the school. Builders were to immediately start reconstructing it and Othak said some classes may be able to resume when the current two-month vacation ends in March. The attack came just hours after gunmen had tried to set fire to another school in Kandahar, but its guards had scared away the arsonists, the education director said. Deputy provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Hungar said five suspects have been arrested. Dozens of schools have been attacked and burned since US-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 for sheltering terror leader Osama bin Laden. Most of the attacks have come at night and not caused fatalities.
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