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School girls hold Taliban flags during a ceremony to mark the start of the academic year at a primary school in Kandahar on March 24, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Washington: The United States and other Western countries on Thursday condemned the Taliban’s decision to shut girls secondary schools in Afghanistan just hours after reopening them, and urged the hardline Islamist movement to reverse course.

The joint statement from the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Britain, the US and the EU said the decision Wednesday by the Taliban will harm the group’s prospects for legitimacy and Afghanistan’s “ambition to become a respected member in the community of nations.”