Originally published on GroundReport.com, the citizen journalism platform that covers world news from the ground.
By Alam Zeb
ISLAMABAD: On Monday militants affiliated with Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah destroyed five more schools in the Swat valley of northern Pakistan, to underscore their anti-education position in the restive but picturesque valley.
Officials say that two boys' schools were bombed in union council Banrh, while three girls' schools were destroyed in Engaro Dherai.
The recent Taliban action leaves questions for Federal Minister Sherry Rehman, who stated last Sunday that the government will provide protection to the schools.
With the recent incident total number of destroyed schools stands 178, including 114 schools for girls and 56 for boys.
Following the incident, the Private Management School Association announced that they were cloing all of their institution immediately.
The Provincial Minister for Education Sardar Hussain Babak also announced closures until February 28th, but said that they were due to summer vacation. Babak added that these institutions will be reopened on March 1, 2009.
On January 15, militants in the Swat district threatened to shut down all government and private educational institutions. Leaders from different sectors have criticized the Taliban's move.
Tehreke Taliban Pakistan's spokesman Molvi Omer said that the Taliban have no intention to ban education in the country, and that this action was the decision of local Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullahh in Swat.
Molvi Omer added that he would address the issue with Maulana Fazlullah. However, Taliban supporters in Swat did not appear to heed to the announcement of the central spokesman, and plan to continue with the destruction of educational institutions.