KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Teachers in the Afghan capital are on strike in support of demands for higher pay and improved conditions, a representative said Sunday.
Fazel Ahmad Fazel, the head of Afghanistan's Teachers' Council, said some schools in Kabul have been closed for a week and that teachers have held rallies and sit-ins.
"All our demands are legitimate and we will not attend classes until we get our rights," he said. "We are very sad because of our students, but this government has left us no other choice."
The strike began in at least 15 schools, but has since spread to many more in the capital. The council is active across the country and has offices in 23 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
Teachers in Afghanistan are poorly paid and often do not receive their salaries for months on end because of government cash-flow problems.
Education Ministry spokesman Kabir Haqmal says officials are meeting with teacher representatives daily. He says some of the teachers' demands are unreasonable and that they have been asked to return to class while the negotiations proceed.
"For a long time we have been doing our best to improve conditions for teachers across the country, but it is a process and needs more time," Haqmal said.