During the five year period from 1996-2001, that the Taliban were in power, girls in Afghanistan were not allowed to attend school. Following the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many teen age girls having missed five years of school resumed their studies at the elementary school level.
The burqa, worn by the students in this image, is an all-enveloping outer garment worn by many girls in Afghanistan. It is worn over the clothing and removed when the girls arrive within the safety of the school. It is not required, but in the current conditions of conflict and insecurity, girls who might not otherwise wear the burqa do so as a matter of personal safety.