Kandahar in a rough patch, as 37 schools are closed and turned into strongholds in three districts
Panjwai, Jari and Arghandab districts have been going through a tough time during the clashes in Kandahar. According to sources, 37 schools in those three districts alone were closed due to ongoing clashes and turned into strongholds of security forces and the Taliban. According to teachers in Kandahar, the number of students has been decreasing with each passing day because students of schools located in war zones cannot attend classes. Students also say they face the risk of clashes and explosions in most cases, and in some cases, Taliban fighters even stop them from going to school due to possible fighting. Moreover, a large number of residents of these three districts have been displaced due to security threats and do not have access to educational services. Officials at the Kandahar Education Department, however, say that as soon as security returns to the area, schools will be rebuilt and classes will be held. Local officials also promise to clear insecure areas soon to allow students to return to school.
Kandahar has become a hotbed of fighting between security forces and the Taliban lately. These battles have mostly affected Panjwai, Jari, and Arghandab districts. As a result, locals, teachers, and officials report that students have been stopped from going to school while the clashes continue. Qudratullah and Ehsanullah, students in Arghandab district, told 8 Subh that they had a hard time going to school because mines had been planted on the roads leading to schools and other places. They believe that for this reason, Taliban fighters from time to time would tell them not to go to school. According to these students, they sometimes get stuck in conflicts while going to school or experience nearby mine explosions.
Teachers and educational staff are also concerned about the situation in the three districts of Kandahar. Ehsanullah, the principal of a high school in Panjwai district, told 8 Subh that the number of students in the district was declining because, according to him, most of the students live in the war zone and due to the unfavorable situation, they cannot attend their classes. In addition, clashes between security forces and the Taliban have displaced a number of families to the city, where they have missed school due to lack of facilities. Meanwhile, the number of war-displaced people in Kandahar has now reached about 20,000 families.
Officials at the Kandahar Education Department have also confirmed the current situation. Nazar Mohammad Samimi, the spokesperson for the Kandahar Education Department, told 8 Subh that 10 schools in Panjwai district, 13 schools in Jari district, and 14 schools in Arghandab district had been closed due to the escalation of the war. He added that security would be restored in these schools in the three districts and that students would be allowed to return. According to popular sources, Taliban fighters and security forces are currently using both schools as shelters and strongholds against each other.
Meanwhile, local officials in Kandahar say military operations are underway to clear the area. Kandahar Governor Rohullah Khanzada told 8 Subh that security forces would soon remove Taliban fighters from Panjwai, Jari, and Arghandab districts so that people could return and students could continue their studies. He added that plans had been made for schools damaged during the conflict to be rebuilt and restored after the end of the war.
It is worth mentioning that there are currently 490 schools throughout Kandahar, of which 347 are active, while other schools have been closed due to insecurity or lack of books, facilities, and teachers. According to sources, in recent years there have been no schools in Ghorak, Rigistan, Shurabak, Nish, Maroof, and Khakriz districts of the province.
Earlier, there were reports of heavy fighting in Kandahar. Although Kandahar had been considered a relatively safe province, Taliban fighters have been active in recent years, even attempting to overthrow districts in the province.