Germany’s international cultural organization, the Goethe Institute, is poised to re-open in the Afghan capital of Kabul after 12 years of closure brought on by the rise of the Taliban regime. The institute, which is the only foreign cultural organization in the city, aims to play both a cultural and educational role with many programs designed specifically for women, who were excluded from education under the oppressive Taliban. Even before the official opening, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, courses have begun in the newly renovated building, formerly home to the East German embassy in the capital. Some 60 students have already signed up to take part in the four German classes on offer at the institute. The Goethe Institute has been stepping up its activity in crisis regions of late, with a planned re-opening of its office in Baghdad and the preparation of a reading room in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.