In a northern valley where Taliban guerrillas have been waging a bloody war against security forces for more than a year, hard-liners have blown up or burned down some 170 schools, most of them for girls. Then in December, a warning by militants in a pirate radio broadcast: All schools for girls should close by January 15.
This week, an association representing 400 private schools for boys and girls in the Swat valley said they would all remain closed after the winter break because of the threat.
Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan in the 1990s banned education for girls and forced most working women to return to their homes.
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