The new collection, which launched Saturday, has dozens of products for adults and children, featuring sneakers and clothing in pastel shades festooned with animal characters and symbols from the game.
Sneakers for adults start at $90. Hoodies with outlines of “villagers” from the game begin at $80. The collection has 18 products for grownups and 17 products for children in sizes four and up.
“Taking cues from the popular game, the collection’s streetwear silhouettes are reimagined with natural colors and authentic graphics from the game,” the Puma website said.
Nintendo Switch sales slump as pandemic hot streak fizzles outNintendo Switch sales slump as pandemic hot streak fizzles out
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a world-building game in which users are dropped into a deserted island that they build up into a village using simple, relaxing tasks.
Puma has collaborated with Nintendo before. Last year, the retailer released NES-themed shoes and clothing based on Super Mario 3D All-Stars, in light of Super Mario’s 35th anniversary. The collection sold out in minutes.
So far, only one style of adult Animal Crossing sneaker has sold out on Puma’s website in its first day.
Released in March 2020 just as pandemic shutdowns went into effect, Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” game sold 5 million digital copies, the most of any console title in a single month, according to Nielsen’s SuperData, which analyzes the gaming industry. Its popularity fueled demand for the Nintendo Switch, which also sold out on multiple websites.
Puma has partnerships with 10 companies and brands, according to its website, ranging from an early-2000’s themed collection with children’s toy Bratz to Gwyneth Paltrow’s luxury lifestyle brand Goop.
Advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday greenlighted recommending emergency use authorization of a booster dose of Pfizer’s vaccine six months after full vaccination for people 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness from the virus. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting next week with its vaccine advisers, and the agency determines the final approval for the shots.
FDA vaccine advisers vote to recommend booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine in people 65 and older and those at high risk
But with 54.4% of the US total population fully vaccinated, health experts reiterated that booster shots are not the answer to ending the pandemic.
Dr. Paul Offit, who is a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee, said vaccinating every eligible Americans remained the most important strategy.
“What is going to be the change in the arc of this pandemic by giving a third dose to people who are already vaccinated as compared to giving two doses to people unvaccinated?” Offit told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday.
It’s been a bleak trajectory in terms of hospitalizations and deaths over the past few months. On Thursday, the seven-day average of Covid-19 deaths hit 1,464, according to the CDC, the highest it’s been since March 1, which was before the widespread availability of the vaccines.
FDA advisers first rejected Pfizer's booster application -- but then voted to recommend a third shot for certain Americans FDA advisers first rejected Pfizer's booster application -- but then voted to recommend a third shot for certain Americans
In West Virginia, where 74 people have died from the virus since Wednesday, the governor is pleading for residents to get vaccinated. The state has fully vaccinated only 40.1% of its population, CDC data shows.
“We’re either going to run into the fire and get vaccinated right now, or we’re going to pile the body bags up until we reach a point in time to where we have enough people that have immunities and enough people that are vaccinated,” Gov. Jim Justice said Friday during a news conference. “The only thing I have in my arsenal that will make this get better is for you to get vaccinated. That’s all I’ve got.”
In Alabama, the increased availability of hospital beds is only because of the double-digit numbers in Covid-19 deaths, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday during a news briefing.
More than half of Americans support vaccine mandates for workplaces, classrooms and sporting eventsMore than half of Americans support vaccine mandates for workplaces, classrooms and sporting events
“I would just say very respectfully and with compassion … there are two ways people leave the hospital, and one of them is not very good,” Harris said.
The state, where 41% of its residents are fully vaccinated, has been seeing “typically 40 or 50 or sometimes 60 deaths a day,” Harris said.
And at least seven pregnant people have died from Covid-19 in Alabama since the pandemic’s onset, Harris said. The state also averaged 23 pregnant people hospitalized with Covid-19 over the past week.

FDA advisers OK booster shot for certain high-risk people

Friday’s highly anticipated meeting to discuss boosters resulted in a recommendation from a group of advisers –vaccine experts, immunologists, pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and public health experts — that people 65 and older along with those at high risk of severe Covid-19 to get a Pfizer booster shot six months after they get their first two shots.
The committee stopped short of recommending a booster shot for 16 and older six months after they are fully vaccinated due to concerns about the safety of a booster dose in younger adults and teens. Members also complained about the lack of data about the safety and long-term efficacy of a booster dose.
5 reasons why FDA advisers did not recommend Covid-19 booster shots for everyone5 reasons why FDA advisers did not recommend Covid-19 booster shots for everyone
The vote was messy, with some advisers expressing concern that the move left out health care workers, who are at high risk of infection, if not of severe disease. The FDA asked the advisers to informally expand their recommendation to encompass people at high occupational risk of infection — and won a yes.
“I think this should demonstrate to the public that the members of this committee are independent of the FDA and that in fact we do bring our voices to the table when we are asked to serve on this committee,” Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University, said after the last vote.
The issue of independence bubbled to the surface because the Biden administration had announced it would be ready to distribute booster doses as early as Monday — ahead of any FDA action or even consideration.
A nurse in a Clearwater, Florida, hospital prepares to help place a positive Covid-19 patient on a respirator. A nurse in a Clearwater, Florida, hospital prepares to help place a positive Covid-19 patient on a respirator.

Florida sees decline in Covid-19 cases

There was a glimmer of good news from Florida, which has been a virus hotspot, even as the state surpassed 50,000 Covid-19 deaths.
“One-quarter of those deaths have occurred since the surge of infections from the Delta variant, so that puts an exclamation point on the fact, just how deadly the Delta variant has been for all of us,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Friday.
Timeline: How Florida's coronavirus response compares to three other big statesTimeline: How Florida's coronavirus response compares to three other big states
Orange County, home to Orlando, saw 372 residents die from Covid-19 in August, said Demings , adding there have been 85 additional deaths since the last briefing on Monday.
However, the county is also “seeing some very promising news,” Demings said, as the number of daily infections declines. For the 13th consecutive day, the number of daily cases has been under 1,000 in the county.
“That’s more good news,” Demings added. “As of today, 72% of eligible residents ages 12 and up have received one or more doses of the vaccine.”
Overall, the state is saw fewer than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the past week for the first time since July 16, according to data published Friday by the Florida Department of Health.
New cases per week in Florida have been declining steadily since August 20, when the state hit its peak of 151,880 new cases in a week.
It was too late. The warning on August 29 came seconds before the missile hit the car, killing 10 civilians, including seven children.
In the weeks following, the military insisted that it had been a justified strike on a confirmed terrorist target, acknowledging that some civilians might have been killed. But on Friday, after weeks of media coverage casting doubt on the legitimacy of the strike, the military acknowledged no one in the car was affiliated with ISIS-K as originally believed. “It was a mistake,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, said bluntly at the Pentagon.
It’s not clear whether the military informed the intelligence community that it had decided to pull the trigger — if for no other reason than that the situation was rapidly evolving. The military calls such strikes, which commanders in the field were authorized to take without consulting up the chain of command, “dynamic.”
In some cases, the military might ask the intelligence community to “task” its surveillance drones and other assets to watch a particular car or a particular location. The intelligence community would share data on the targets with the Defense Department in real time, but it is ultimately the military ground force commander’s decision to take the strike.
Some sources say the miscommunication highlights a now-pressing decision for the Biden administration as it weighs how to conduct future strikes in Afghanistan without US troops on the ground there: Will the Defense Department or CIA own the mission?
The CIA declined to comment for this story. A spokesman for US Central Command did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Two institutions

Counterterrorism, intelligence and military officials unanimously agree: Without US troops on the ground, identifying the correct target and launching successful strikes on legitimate ISIS-K or al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan has become infinitely harder. Trying to split the mission between two organizations, some current and former officials say, runs the risk that the grave tragedy in Kabul will happen much more frequently.
“If they tasked the agency with looking at the target for indications of ‘go’ or ‘no go’ criteria, they should have had the ability to get that information and affect whether they launched a strike. If there was no way to know that they were about to launch, there’s something really wrong there,” said Mick Mulroy, a former CIA officer and Pentagon official. Mulroy cautioned he had no first-hand knowledge.
But while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pledged to get to the bottom of what mistakes were made in the lead up to this specific strike, current and former officials also point out that civilian casualties were a consistent reality of the US mission in Afghanistan.
“It is a pretty good encapsulation of the entire 20-year war,” one US official said, referring to the August 29 strike.
The intelligence community and the Defense Department have for years worked together to execute counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan — part of a longstanding push to put the authority for drone strikes under military command under the theory that there would be more accountability and transparency surrounding civilian deaths. But the flow of information and decision-making between the two organizations sometimes hits the air gap between institutions, and in any event, the CIA and the Defense Department operate under different standards for executing strikes of this nature.
Some former intelligence officials take it a step further, claiming that CIA drone strikes kill far fewer civilians that the military’s — but the agency’s figures aren’t public, and outside groups that track drone strike casualties say the US military routinely undercounts its collateral deaths, making an accurate comparison difficult to draw.
The Biden administration insists that it has the tools to carry out successful “over the horizon” missions. McKenzie on Friday argued that the failure of the Aug. 29 strike was not predictive of the challenges of “over the horizon.”
“This was a self-defense strike based on an imminent threat to attack us,” McKenzie said. “That is not the way we would strike in an (over the horizon) mission” — because the standards would be higher for conducting such a strike, he said, and “we’ll have a lot more opportunity probably than we had under this extreme time pressure to take a look at the target.”
But sources tell CNN the Biden administration is still grappling with the mechanics of how it will structure the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan going forward. Some intelligence officials privately belittle “over the horizon” in Afghanistan as “over the rainbow.”

Building a strike

For eight hours on August 29, intelligence officials tracked the movements of Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a US aid group, based on a tenuous connection to ISIS-K: Ahmadi had a short interaction with people in what the military believed was an ISIS safe house.
That flimsy clue led military commanders to misinterpret Ahmadi’s movements over the course of a relatively normal day. They watched him load water jugs into the back of the car to bring home and believed they were explosives. What military commanders insisted was a large secondary explosion after the Hellfire hit the Corolla — indicating, senior leaders believed, explosives in the trunk — was actually more likely a propane tank located behind the parked car.
Military commanders did not know Ahmadi’s identity when they began tracking his movements.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
For weeks after the strike, senior military leaders have publicly and privately defended the strike and the intelligence it was based on. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters the strike was “righteous.” The Pentagon insisted that there was a large, secondary explosion that could only have been caused by explosives in the trunk of the car, and that secondary explosion was the cause of the high civilian casualty rate.
In the end, almost everything they asserted turned out to be false.
McKenzie on Friday rejected the notion that the mission was a “complete and utter failure.”
“This particular strike was certainly a terrible mistake and we certainly regret that, and I’ve been very clear that we take full responsibility for it. At the same time, we were carrying out a number of complex operations designed to defend ourselves,” McKenzie said. “So while I agree… this strike certainly did not come up to our standards… I would not qualify the entire operation in those terms.”
There were 2,000 police officers in the Melbourne central business district to prevent large protest groups from coming together, Victoria Police Commander Mark Galliott said.
“What we saw today was a group of protesters that came together, not to protest freedoms, but simply to take on and have a fight with the police,” Galliott told reporters. “That’s what we saw were angry, aggressive young males, they had to fight the police not to protest about freedom.”
Galliott pointed out that the only way to gain freedom as a society is to work together and achieve vaccinations. “Once we do that we would be out and about enjoying summer, enjoying Christmas, enjoying times with families. Doing these does nothing to advance any course. It’s never been successful here or overseas, protesting gets you nowhere.”
Victoria police fire pepper spray during a clash with protesters at a Rally for Freedom in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
He also said if the officials had not taken preventative measures to shut down the public transport system and enforcing the vehicle checkpoints, there could have been thousands of protesters in the city. According to police, about 500 to 700 protesters were in Melbourne’s central business district on Saturday.
The state of Victoria extended its lockdown earlier this month for another three weeks after tough restrictions failed to lower the number of daily new coronavirus cases.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said restrictions will only ease when 70% of eligible residents receive their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
That’s expected to happen on or around September 23. So far, 56% of people aged 16 and above have received their first dose.
Despite recent flare-ups, Australia has managed to keep its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with just over 84,000 cases, according to John Hopkins University, and fewer than 1,150 deaths.
A rare snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus
Six African lions, a Sumatran tiger and two Amur tigers are being treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea medication to help with their discomfort and loss of appetite, the zoo announced in a news release. They’re also getting antibiotics to treat presumptive secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Several of the lions and tigers displayed symptoms last weekend, including decreased appetites, coughing, sneezing and lethargy, the release said.
Fecal samples from the lions and tigers were tested and came back with presumptive positive results. Final results are expected in the next few days, the zoo said.
The zoo will remain open and the lions and tigers will be able to go outside in their outdoor habitats.
“Given the substantial distance between the animals and visitors, the public is not at risk,” the statement said.
The zoo said no other animals have shown signs of infection.
“The Zoo has conducted a thorough investigation of all staff that were in close proximity to the lions and tigers. There is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection,” the statement said. “While it is possible the infection was transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier, it has been standard practice for all animal care staff and essential staff to mask indoors in all public and non-public areas.”
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered, with a population of less than 400, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Amur tigers are classified as endangered and African lions are vulnerable on the IUCN Red list.
World's oldest zoo panda turns 35World's oldest zoo panda turns 35
Last week, a group of lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta tested positive for Covid-19, according to zoo officials. Only two of the 20 gorillas are still symptomatic, the zoo said in a statement Friday.
The US Department of Agriculture has authorized a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for zoo animals, and the National Zoo said it would administer it to susceptible animals once it becomes available.
Zoo Atlanta says it has vaccinated its orangutans, lions, tigers, and clouded leopard.
It’s the latest trend to go viral on Tiktok, called “devious licks”: Middle school, high school and college students vandalize school property, most commonly bathrooms, and post their results on the social media app.
TikTok has been quick to shut down the trend, with the company removing many of the videos from its platform.
Search the term “devious licks” on the app now, and a message from TikTok appears: “No results found. This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority. For more information, we invite you to review our Community Guidelines.”
TikTok rolls out mental health resources for users as Instagram faces criticism
“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNN.
People have shared the videos on other platforms as well.
A quick search on Twitter revealed a copious catalog of “devious lick” videos, which featured people stealing a bathroom sink and other school property.

Some bathrooms are partially shut down

In response, some schools are locking bathrooms for large portions of the day.
While the intent is to prevent further vandalism, it could have negative consequences, said school counselor Phyllis Fagell, author of “Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond–and How Parents Can Help.”
“I have a lot of empathy for administrators who are dealing with this behavior,” Fagell said, but she warned that punishing everyone for the actions of a few students can sow mistrust.
Allowing students to use the bathrooms when they please is a basic sign of respect, she added. “If adults want kids to show respect, they have to show respect in return.”
This therapist fights online toxicity, one TikTok video at a time This therapist fights online toxicity, one TikTok video at a time
Some children also have social anxiety and closing the bathrooms for parts of the day could exacerbate it, said John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and family therapist in Chicago.
“Some of my socially anxious clients choose to suffer significant discomfort than disrupt a teacher in class to use the bathroom for fear of the social attention,” he said. If the bathroom is locked, many kids will become anxious that the facility is unavailable to them, he added.
CNN reached out to Shakopee West Middle School in Shakopee, Minnesota, one of the schools who partially shut down their bathrooms, and is still awaiting a response.

Why students are vandalizing schools

Tweens and teens are vulnerable to peer pressure and are trying to establish where they fit in socially, Fagell said.
Middle school students, in particular, are desperate for acceptance and may make impulsive decisions to fit in, Fagell said. They’re more prone to impulsive behavior because their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for logical thinking, isn’t fully developed yet, she explained.
Over the past year, Duffy said several boys have been referred to him by schools for vandalizing property. One of the students who had destroyed a bathroom admitted that he didn’t want to do it but succumbed to peer pressure.
The student “felt it was wrong, but he was dared to do it by a group of classmates at a party, a group he desperately wanted to be a part of,” Duffy said.

What parents can do

It’s important for parents to be aware of social media trends like “devious licks,” so Duffy recommended parents speak with their children about their social media habits.
If parents are non-judgmental, their kids will likely teach them about the latest trends, which gives parents the opportunity to prevent their children from making mistakes with serious consequences, he said.
Because children’s problem-solving abilities aren’t fully developed, parents should also be a role-model and walk their child through the process, Fagell said.
Parents could explain what some of the negative consequences would be if they vandalized the school and provide counter examples for why they should do the right thing, she said.
Parents should not underestimate the power of disappointment. “It’s critical that parents actually verbalize that they would be very disappointed if they ever got a call saying, ‘Your child has done something to vandalize the school,'” Fagell said.
It was too late. The warning on August 29 came seconds before the missile hit the car, killing 10 civilians, including seven children.
In the weeks following, the military insisted that it had been a justified strike on a confirmed terrorist target, acknowledging that some civilians might have been killed. But on Friday, after weeks of media coverage casting doubt on the legitimacy of the strike, the military acknowledged no one in the car was affiliated with ISIS-K as originally believed. “It was a mistake,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, said bluntly at the Pentagon.
It’s not clear whether the military informed the intelligence community that it had decided to pull the trigger — if for no other reason than that the situation was rapidly evolving. The military calls such strikes, which commanders in the field were authorized to take without consulting up the chain of command, “dynamic.”
In some cases, the military might ask the intelligence community to “task” its surveillance drones and other assets to watch a particular car or a particular location. The intelligence community would share data on the targets with the Defense Department in real time, but it is ultimately the military ground force commander’s decision to take the strike.
Some sources say the miscommunication highlights a now-pressing decision for the Biden administration as it weighs how to conduct future strikes in Afghanistan without US troops on the ground there: Will the Defense Department or CIA own the mission?
The CIA declined to comment for this story. A spokesman for US Central Command did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Two institutions

Counterterrorism, intelligence and military officials unanimously agree: Without US troops on the ground, identifying the correct target and launching successful strikes on legitimate ISIS-K or al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan has become infinitely harder. Trying to split the mission between two organizations, some current and former officials say, runs the risk that the grave tragedy in Kabul will happen much more frequently.
“If they tasked the agency with looking at the target for indications of ‘go’ or ‘no go’ criteria, they should have had the ability to get that information and affect whether they launched a strike. If there was no way to know that they were about to launch, there’s something really wrong there,” said Mick Mulroy, a former CIA officer and Pentagon official. Mulroy cautioned he had no first-hand knowledge.
But while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pledged to get to the bottom of what mistakes were made in the lead up to this specific strike, current and former officials also point out that civilian casualties were a consistent reality of the US mission in Afghanistan.
“It is a pretty good encapsulation of the entire 20-year war,” one US official said, referring to the August 29 strike.
The intelligence community and the Defense Department have for years worked together to execute counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan — part of a longstanding push to put the authority for drone strikes under military command under the theory that there would be more accountability and transparency surrounding civilian deaths. But the flow of information and decision-making between the two organizations sometimes hits the air gap between institutions, and in any event, the CIA and the Defense Department operate under different standards for executing strikes of this nature.
Some former intelligence officials take it a step further, claiming that CIA drone strikes kill far fewer civilians that the military’s — but the agency’s figures aren’t public, and outside groups that track drone strike casualties say the US military routinely undercounts its collateral deaths, making an accurate comparison difficult to draw.
The Biden administration insists that it has the tools to carry out successful “over the horizon” missions. McKenzie on Friday argued that the failure of the Aug. 29 strike was not predictive of the challenges of “over the horizon.”
“This was a self-defense strike based on an imminent threat to attack us,” McKenzie said. “That is not the way we would strike in an (over the horizon) mission” — because the standards would be higher for conducting such a strike, he said, and “we’ll have a lot more opportunity probably than we had under this extreme time pressure to take a look at the target.”
But sources tell CNN the Biden administration is still grappling with the mechanics of how it will structure the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan going forward. Some intelligence officials privately belittle “over the horizon” in Afghanistan as “over the rainbow.”

Building a strike

For eight hours on August 29, intelligence officials tracked the movements of Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a US aid group, based on a tenuous connection to ISIS-K: Ahmadi had a short interaction with people in what the military believed was an ISIS safe house.
That flimsy clue led military commanders to misinterpret Ahmadi’s movements over the course of a relatively normal day. They watched him load water jugs into the back of the car to bring home and believed they were explosives. What military commanders insisted was a large secondary explosion after the Hellfire hit the Corolla — indicating, senior leaders believed, explosives in the trunk — was actually more likely a propane tank located behind the parked car.
Military commanders did not know Ahmadi’s identity when they began tracking his movements.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
For weeks after the strike, senior military leaders have publicly and privately defended the strike and the intelligence it was based on. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters the strike was “righteous.” The Pentagon insisted that there was a large, secondary explosion that could only have been caused by explosives in the trunk of the car, and that secondary explosion was the cause of the high civilian casualty rate.
In the end, almost everything they asserted turned out to be false.
McKenzie on Friday rejected the notion that the mission was a “complete and utter failure.”
“This particular strike was certainly a terrible mistake and we certainly regret that, and I’ve been very clear that we take full responsibility for it. At the same time, we were carrying out a number of complex operations designed to defend ourselves,” McKenzie said. “So while I agree… this strike certainly did not come up to our standards… I would not qualify the entire operation in those terms.”
The Taliban Ministry of Education ordered male students and teachers from the 6th to the 12th grade to report to their schools on Saturday. The announcement, issued on Friday, did not mention female students at all, sowing fears that girls would once again be excluded from secondary education.
When last in power between 1996 and 2001, the militant group banned women and girls from education and work and severely restricted their rights.
Taliban fighters use whips against Afghan women protesting the all-male interim government
But speaking to CNN on Saturday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said women will be allowed to study.
Mujahid said the Taliban was working on creating a secure transport system for girls in grades six to 12.
“There are certain rules during their class time that must be obeyed that they could be safe and sound,” he said.
“We do have girls in universities continuing their education both in private and government-funded universities, but from grade 6 to 12 we are currently trying to provide chance for them to carry on,” he said.
Mujahid pointed out that women were being allowed to continue to study in other age groups. “We do have girls in universities continuing their education both in private and government-funded universities, but from grade 6 to 12 we are currently trying to provide chance for them to carry on, and it’s in processing,” he said.
One Afghan girl who was hoping to go back to school told CNN the Taliban announcement on Friday came as a shock, especially since the group had previously allowed girls to go to primary schools.
Afghanistan is now one of very few countries with no women in top government ranks Afghanistan is now one of very few countries with no women in top government ranks
“I was hoping to go back to school and get closer to my bigger dreams, but now everything looks blurry,” Tamana, who did not want to disclose her last name, told CNN. “If the Taliban do not allow us to go back to school, our future and our hopes would be crushed forever.”
Taliban leaders have repeatedly promised to respect women’s rights, insisting publicly that women will play a prominent role in society and have access to education.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul on September 7, 2021. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference in Kabul on September 7, 2021.
The reality on the ground in Afghanistan appears far from those promises. Women have been completely excluded from the country’s new, hardline government.
Militants have in some instances ordered women to leave their workplaces, and when a group of women protested the announcement of the all-male government in Kabul last week Taliban fighters beat them with whips and sticks.
While women have been allowed to continue their university education, the Taliban has mandated the segregation of genders in classrooms and said female students, lecturers and employees must wear hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Sharia law.
UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said the organization was “deeply worried” girls would be excluded from education. “Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching,” she said on Friday.