May 28 (UPI) -- Terrorist attacks against schools in Afghanistan have forced more than 1,000 to close, meaning nearly half the nation's children won't get a formal education, UNICEF reports.
"Education is under fire in Afghanistan," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. "The senseless attacks on schools; the killing, injury and abduction of teachers; and the threats against education are destroying the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children."
Schools are a prime target for terrorists because voters register there and they are used as polling locations during elections. More than 3.7 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 are out of school. Of that, 60 percent are girls.
UNICEF is working with the Afghan communities to provide classes in community buildings, homes and other locations while also helping to reduce the risk of insecurity on the way to school.
UNICEF calls for an end to attacks on schools as the Conference on Safe Schools opens Tuesday in Spain.