The World Bank has put on hold four projects in Afghanistan worth $600 million after the Taliban banned girls over Grade 6 from returning to schools. The projects, to be funded under the revamped Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), were to be implemented by United Nations agencies to support agriculture, education and health. The bank said all ARTF-financed activities need to support access to and equity of services for women and girls in Afghanistan. The projects will be presented to ARTF donors for approval only “when the World Bank and international partners have a better understanding of the situation and confidence that the goals of the projects can be met”. Last week, U.S. officials cancelled meetings with the Taliban in Doha over the decision to keep girls out of secondary school.
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