In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, girls were not allowed to go to school, period. This has changed, but the extreme right's opposition to the education of girls is no secret; in 2008, for example, 15 students and teachers were sprayed with acid as they walked to their school in Kandahar. The effects of this type of terror act tend to ripple outwards; a lot of parents who were not directly affected by these incidents hear about them and decide it's not worth the risk, and keep their girls at home.
Afghan schoolgirls 'poisoned' [Al Jazeera]
I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.