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Just weeks after Human Rights Watch released a report on ongoing attacks on education in Afghanistan, UNICEF issued a strong statement condemning the attacks and, along with the Afghan Ministry of Education and others, set up a task force to increase protection for Afghan teachers, students, and schools and to respond rapidly to incidents of violence. The task force’s mandate includes many of our report’s key recommendations, including improved monitoring of attacks, support for community mobilization, and rebuilding of damaged infrastructure.

Human Rights Watch’s report is based on research from several field missions to Afghanistan, where we found that escalating attacks by the Taliban and other armed groups were shutting down schools and depriving yet another Afghan generation of an education. Schools for girls have been hit particularly hard, threatening to undo advances in girls’ education since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001. On August 8, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Education condemned the attacks and issued an appeal that they be stopped. Human Rights Watch will continue to engage with the press to raise international awareness of our findings and recommendations. We will also conduct advocacy with the Afghan and U.S. governments, NATO, and other relevant international organizations to urge better protection for the welfare and security of ordinary Afghans.

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