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Taliban Says It Will Open Afghan Schools

A student awaits classes to begin in a sanctioned Afghan school (file photo) (epa) January 21, 2007 -- Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents say they will spend $1 million on opening schools in areas they control to counter the "propaganda" of the West and the Western-backed government.

A Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hai Mutmaen, told Western news agencies that students will be taught subjects "that are in line with Islamic teaching and jihad."

During its six years in power, the former Taliban regime banned girls from schools.

Some 5 million children, including girls, now attend school in Afghanistan, up from fewer than 1 million during Taliban rule.

Since its ouster in late 2001 by U.S.-led forces, the Taliban has burned down state-sponsored schools, and killed tens of teachers and pupils as part of its war against the government.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai today told parliament that the Taliban forced some 200,000 children out of schools in 2006.

(Reuters, AP)