The BBC reported on Wednesday that the World Bank has suspended four projects in Afghanistan totaling $600 million because of a ban on girls attending secondary schools.
In a statement issued by Pajhwok News, the World Bank explained the projects were intended to help agriculture, education, health, and livelihoods. Before the four projects can be offered to ARTF donors for approval, the World Bank and foreign partners must gain a deeper understanding of the situation and be confident that the projects’ goals can be met.
As a result of the Taliban’s decision to prohibit girls from attending secondary school, US officials canceled negotiations with the Taliban in Doha last week. The World Bank’s executive board approved a plan to invest over $1 billion from the ARTF fund in education, agriculture, health, and family programs on March 1.
The BBC reported that the projects placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that girls and women participated in and benefited from the assistance. It was much to the dismay of the international community when the new Afghan rulers reversed their decision to open secondary schools for girls. On Friday, officials from ten countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, released a joint statement, calling the Taliban’s conduct ‘very alarming’.