As Taliban ban girls from secondary schools, World Bank suspends $600mn projects

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With girls banned from returning to secondary schools, the World Bank has suspended four projects worth $600 million in Afghanistan, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The projects were being prepared for implementation by United Nations agencies to support agriculture, education, health and livelihoods, the World Bank said, Pajhwok News reported.

Now the four projects will be presented to ARTF donors for approval only when the World Bank and international partners have a better understanding of the situation and confidence that the goals of the schemes could be achieved. The US officials last week cancelled planned meetings in Doha with the Taliban over the decision to keep girls out of secondary school.

On March 1, the World Bank’s executive board gave the go-ahead to a plan to use more than $1 billion from the ARTF fund to fund vital education, agriculture, health and family programmes.

The projects, according to the BBC, had a strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support.

Much to the world’s frustration, the new Afghan rulers backtracked on their decision to open secondary schools for girls.

A joint statement on Friday by the officials from 10 countries, including the US and the UK, slammed the Taliban’s actions as profoundly disturbing.

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