The Taliban backtracked on its decision to open schools for girls beyond 6th grade, just hours before the schools were set to open for the first time since August last year.

The move came at the start of the new school year in Afghanistan on Wednesday. The group had previously promised to "protect "the rights of women and had said that women would be allowed to get an education.

However, they have now said that the high schools for women would remain shut for girls until the government comes up with guidelines that comply with the Islamic Sharia law.

"We inform all girls high schools and those schools that are having female students above class six that they are off until the next order," the notice read.

"Mum, they didn't let me enter my school. They're saying girls aren't allowed" Hopes and dreams shattered once again for millions of Afghan girls left in tears and devastated by the continued Taliban ban

— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) March 23, 2022

Heartbreak as Afghan girls ordered home just hours after schools reopen.

Crestfallen students, back at school for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, tearfully packed up their belongings and filed out

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 23, 2022

Several videos of female students crying in front of their schools have made rounds on social media. One of the videos shows a student breaking down on the floor when the school did not allow her in, according to a report in The Independent.

"We all got disappointed and we all became totally hopeless when the principal told us, she was also crying," said one of the students.

The Taliban Education Ministry's announcement last week had given hope to girls across the country. During its rule in the 1990s, women were not allowed to get an education or step outside without a male chaperone.

Unlike the 1990s, women are no longer required to wear a burqa but have to keep their heads covered with a hijab. They have also been allowed to work in the health and education ministry.

The last-minute announcement to not open schools for women triggered global backlash for the Taliban regime with leaders from across the world condemning the move.

"Hearing disturbing reports that female students above the sixth grade will not be invited back to school by the authorities, if true, what could possibly be the reason?" said Deborah Lyons, the head of the United Nations' mission to Afghanistan, said in a tweet.

Afghan woman
Violent actions against women by Taliban insurgents are not entirely uncommon in Afghanistan AREF KARIMI/AFP/Getty Images