Monday, December 11, 2006

Taliban Target Teachers

The Taliban gunmen who killed two teachers in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday were only following their rules: Teachers receive a warning, then a beating, and, if they continue to teach, must be killed. The new list of 30 rules, decided on during a high Taliban meeting in September or October and since circulated via the Internet, span from the organizational (no jihad equipment may be used for personal means) to the health-conscious (militants are not supposed to smoke). They also contain a grave warning for aid workers and educators. Rule No. 24 forbids anyone to work as a teacher "under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels." One rule later, No. 25, says teachers who ignore Taliban warnings will be killed.Taliban militants broke into a house in the eastern province of Kunar, killing a family of five, including two sisters who were teachers. The women had been warned in a letter to quit teaching, said Gulam Ullah Wekar, the provincial education director. Their mother, grandmother and a male relative also were slain in the attack. The two sisters brought to 20 the number of teachers killed in Taliban attacks this year, Education Ministry spokesman Zuhur Afghan said. He said 198 schools have been burned down this year, up from about 150 last year. The 30 Taliban rules also spell out opposition to development projects from aid organizations, including clinics, roads and schools. "If a school fails a warning to close, it must be burned. But all religious books must be secured beforehand," rule No. 26 says. An addendum to the rules said they were distributed initially at a meeting of top Taliban leaders during Ramadan this year. The rules were signed by Mullah Omar, the fugitive Taliban leader and "the highest leader of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan," according to the document.