JALALABAD, Afghanistan – Insurgents torched a newly built school for refugee children in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday, in the first such attack in 2007 blamed on Taleban militants.
There was a spate of similar attacks last year on schools and teachers that were mostly blamed on Taleban rebels conducting an insurgency to overthrow the government and expel foreign troops trying to bring stability.
Indeed, it’s a matter of Taliban policy, from a recently issued set of rules for the group’s jihadists, to send a warning to schools and their personnel, followed by beatings and death. If they’re following the playbook, this incident might be the “warning.”
The school set alight Monday night in the eastern province of Nangarhar near the border with Pakistan was made up of tents from the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, provincial spokesman Hazrat Hussain said.
“˜Five tents of a new UNICEF-built school were burned down last night in Behsud district,” he told AFP.
Hussain blamed the attack on the “˜enemies of Afghanistan”, a term often used by Afghan officials to refer to the Taleban movement ousted from government in late 2001.
Gul Pacha Khalizay, the deputy education director of the province, said about 200 boys and girls from a nearby refugee camp used the primary school.
Education minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said in August that suspected Taleban had killed at least 41 teachers and students in Afghanistan in the previous 12 months and security concerns forced 208 schools to close.