Abdul Hai Habibi High School
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But since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the secular school in the city of Khost has been converted into a madrasah, or religious seminary, forcing many of its 6,000 students and 130 teachers to leave. Abdul Hai Habibi is among the dozens of state schools, public universities, and vocational training centers that the Taliban has turned into Islamic seminaries across the country.
Critics say the aim of the Islamist militant group is to root out all forms of the modern secular education that thrived in Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 toppled the Taliban’s first regime.
Transforming Afghanistan’s education system has been one of the Taliban’s main goals since it regained power. The militants have banned girls from attending high school, imposed gender segregation and a new dress code at public universities, and vowed to overhaul the national curriculum. The Taliban has also unveiled plans to build a vast network of madrasahs across the country’s 34 provinces.