Afghan teacher beheaded, officials say
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: October 6, 2015
the current release.
teacher in a central Afghan town while his wife and eight children watched,
officials said Wednesday, describing the latest in a string of attacks targeting
educators at schools where girls study.
Four men stabbed Malim Abdul Habib eight times late Tuesday
before decapitating him in the courtyard of his home in Qalat, said Ali Khail, a
spokesman for the provincial government of Zabul, where the attack took place.
The assailants made Habib’s wife, four sons and four
daughters watch, Khail said. His children were between the ages of 2 and 22. No
other family members were hurt.
The insurgents killed Habib, 45, after he refused to go
with them to meet their commander, said the victim’s cousin, Esanullah, who goes
by only one name.
The attackers fled and Habib’s wife called the police,
Khail said. Police are questioning three people who were guests in the victim’s
home at the time.
Habib was the headmaster of Shaikh Mathi Baba high school,
which is attended by 1,300 boys and girls.
Zabul, a remote and mountainous province populated mainly
by Pashtuns and bordering Pakistan, is a hotbed of Taliban militancy. The former
Taliban regime prohibited girls from attending school as part of its widely
criticized drive to establish what it considered a “pure” Islamic state.
Zabul province’s education director, Nabi Khushal, blamed
Taliban rebels for the killing.
“Only the Taliban are against girls being educated,” he
said. “The Taliban often attack our teachers and beat them. But this is the
first time one has been killed in this province.”
Cleric Sayed Omer Munib, a member of the nation’s top
Islamic council, said there was no justification in Islam’s holy book, the
Quran, to prevent girls from studying.
“Nowhere in the Quran does it say that girls do not have
the right to education,” he said. “It says that ‘people should be educated.’
This means girls, too.”
Hundreds of thousands of girls have returned to school
since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001.
A UNICEF spokesman said the attacks were “incredibly
“Militants are clearly trying to intimidate communities and
force families not to send their girls to school,” Edward Carwardine said. “We
hope these incidents will not deter families. … Fortunately, so far we have
not seen a decline in girls attending.”
He said about 90% of Afghan adults are believed to support
educating girls. Many of those who oppose it are in conservative rural areas
dominated by ethnic Pashtun where the Taliban — who also are Pashtun — are most
The government condemned the killing. Masood Khalili, the
Afghan ambassador to Turkey, where President Hamid Karzai was visiting, said it
was “disgusting action by the enemies of Afghanistan.”
Esanullah said Habib resumed a more than 20-year teaching
career two years ago after the Taliban threatened him while he was working for
an aid group helping the disabled. Since then, the Taliban had warned him twice
to stop teaching.
Habib’s funeral Wednesday was attended by hundreds of
students and teachers.
Taliban spokesmen and commanders in the region, one of the
most volatile in Afghanistan, could not immediately be reached for comment.
In the past year, Taliban insurgents have occasionally put
up posters around Qalat demanding girls’ schools be closed and threatening to
kill teachers, Khushal said.
He said 100 of the province’s 170 registered schools have
been closed in the past two to three years because of poor security. Of the
35,000 students attending schools in Zabul, 2,700 were girls, he said.
There has been a series of attacks on girls’ schools and
teachers across Afghanistan since the Taliban regime fell. In October, gunmen
killed a headmaster in front of his students at a boys’ school in southern
Kandahar province, the former stronghold of the Taliban regime.
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