KABUL (Reuters – June 05, 2023) – Around 60 Afghan girls were hospitalised after being poisoned at their school in northern Afghanistan, police said on Monday.
The poisoning, which targeted a girls’ school in the Afghan province of Sar-e Pol, comes after intense scrutiny of girls’ education in the war-torn nation since the Taliban took over and barred most teenage female students and after a wave of poison attacks on girls’ schools in neighbouring Iran.
“Some unknown people entered a girls’ … school in Sancharak District .. and poisoned the classes, when the girls come to classes they got poisoned,” said Den Mohammad Nazari, Sar-e-Pol’s police spokesperson, without elaborating on which substance was used or who was thought to be behind the incident.
Nazari said the girls had been taken to ho.spital but were in “good condition.” No one had been arrested.
In neighbouring Iran, poisoning incidents at girls’ schools sickened an estimated 13,000 mostly female students since November.
During Afghanistan’s previous foreign-backed government, several poisoning attacks, including suspected gas attacks, on girls’ schools had taken place.
The Taliban administration has prevented most female students from attending highschool and university since taking over in 2021, sparking condemnation from international governments and many Afghans.
Taliban authorities have kept primary schools open for girls, up until the age of around 12 and say they are in favour of female education under certain conditions.
(This story has been refiled to fix a typo in the word ‘hospitalised’ in paragraph 1)