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Secret schools keep Afghan girls learning

Rule-breaking teachers defy Taliban to provide lessons

Female students attend a clandestine English lesson in Kabul. After the Taliban took control of the government and placed restrictions on education for women and girls, the teachers at this school decided to help their former students continue their studies in secret. (Photo by Sara Perria)

KABUL -- Watery snow muffles Sarah's footsteps as she walks through the streets of Kabul to a clandestine school set up to fight the Taliban's draconian restrictions on education for girls. It is a risky journey. When a man steps out of a bakery carrying flatbread, Sarah stops speaking English and walks faster.

An unremarkable gate leads to the school. Looking like a normal house, it has been rented by one of the teachers. Sarah (not her real name) stumbles on one of the many shoes left outside, but the tension dissolves when she opens the door to the sound of young girls repeating sentences in unison.

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