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Taliban shuts schools in Afghanistan in show of strength following motorcycle ban

Kabul , Fri, 27 Apr 2012 ANI

Kabul, April 27 (ANI): The Taliban has closed down about 50 schools in southeastern Afghanistan, while the Afghan Government has banned the use of motorcycles in the southern districts of Ghazni Province.

The Ghazni administration banned the use of motorcycles after insurgents used unmarked bikes to carry out terror strikes, The Washington Post reports.

Militants responded to the ban by warning educators and families to keep their children at home, the Afghan officials said.

The message spread quickly through traditional social networks. Most of about 36,000 students, including girls and boys, who usually attend schools in southern Ghazni, have surrendered themselves to the Taliban diktat, officials said.

The motorcycles ban, which is supported by the United States and its NATO allies, has drastically restricted insurgent movements and increased friction between the Taliban and government, Afghan security officials said.

American officials consider Ghazni a point of stability for central and eastern Afghanistan.

Over the past few years, the Taliban has closed or suspended dozens of schools, particularly those attended by girls, in parts of the country.

But the mass closure of schools in Ghazni is one of the clearest signs yet of the Taliban's ability not only to combat NATO and Afghan troops, but also to limit access to essential services provided by the Western donors.

Ghazni officials have said that security in the province has improved since the motorcycle ban came into effect.

Education officials in Kabul said they had little power to reopen schools until the Ghazni Government lifts the motorcycle ban.

Local officials have begun talks with the Taliban about reopening schools, Amanullah Iman, a spokesman for the Afghan Education Ministry said.

A Taliban spokesman could not be reached for comment. (ANI)

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