20 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-726

Taliban destroy schools in Helmand Province

The Taliban has destroyed 2 schools in Helmand Province in the last month.

Throughout Helmand, children and adults have seized the chance to be educated over the last 3 years. Children are enthusiastic about learning and parents are keen for their children to be taught. Across Helmand, school enrolment in 2008 has risen 10% from 50,000 to 55,000.

“This is yet another display of callous disregard for the civilian population by the Taliban. The destruction of the schools in Shin Qalay and Marjah in the Nad Ali district of Helmand will deny the children of the district the chance of education and a better life. It is further evidence that the Taliban does not care about the local people, or their future,” said Task Force Helmand spokesperson Commander Paula Rowe.

At his Press Conference in Lashkar Gah Dec. 14, the Governor of Helmand Province, Gulab Mangal, issued a warning, saying, “Those who destroy schools act illegally, contrary to their education and against their future. If we arrest them, those who destroy schools will be tried, convicted and sentenced.”

The development of schools and education in Helmand by Governor Mangal’s officials is in accordance with the Government of Afghanistan’s policy. The Government aims for enrolment in primary school for girls and boys to be at least 60% and 75% respectively by 2010; for female teachers to have increased by 50% and for 70% of Afghanistan’s teachers to have passed a competency test.

Alongside school construction and refurbishment, the Helmand PRT is running a programme to train teachers, fund equipment and help the Department of Education build its managerial capacity.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/