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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ashfaq Yusufzai, "PAKISTAN: School Bombings Force Girls to Drop Out," IPS, May 27, 2008.

PESHAWAR, Jun 6 (IPS) - "I am disappointed about quitting school, but my parents want me to stay at home," says Sumaira Begum, a student of class 8 at the Government High School Mardan in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). "On Mar. 20, my school was bombed after which nearly 100 girls including I stopped attending."

Gul Bahar Begum, school principal, confirms the number. "Of our 1,100 students, about 100 have stopped coming," she said, explaining that the school received a letter from the local Taliban on Feb. 20, warning that it would be attacked if the girls went unveiled.

A month later, a pre-dawn blast destroyed a part of the school building and scared parents forced their daughters to leave school.

So far all school bombings in the NWFP and adjoining Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been after midnight. There have been no casualties.

A reported 118 girls’ schools have been damaged in bomb attacks over the last one year.

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