A middle school principal in Virginia has called off an assignment that asked some students to represent the views of the Taliban in a mock United Nations debate.

Eighth graders at Swanson Middle School in Arlington had been asked to research nine conflicts around the world, including Afghanistan, and debate solutions. Some students would have presented the Taliban's views.

But Principal Chrystal Forrester dropped Afghanistan from the list Monday. She says she didn't want controversy to undermine a lesson about building persuasive arguments and supporting them with research.

Parent Chris Wilson, whose daughter was one of those asked to represent the Taliban, says he found it morally questionable to ask students to echo the extremist Islamic group.