In the second attack since April, over 120 Afghan schoolgirls and three teachers were poisoned yesterday in the northern Takhar province of Afghanistan. Both attacks were blamed on conservative radicals who are against the education of girls. In yesterday’s attack, an unidentified toxic substance was used to contaminate the air in the classrooms of the girls’ school.
The girls, some of whom were as young as ten years old, complained of headaches, nausea, and dizziness, and some were left unconscious. Five of the girls who were released from the hospital yesterday returned today with the same symptoms. A spokesman for the Takhar police said, “The Afghan people know that the terrorists and the Taliban are doing these things to threaten girls and stop them [from] going to school. That’s something we and the people believe. Now we are implementing democracy in Afghanistan, and we want girls to be educated, but the government’s enemies don’t want this.”
On April 17, 150 school girls in the same province drank contaminated water, sending many to the hospital. The education ministry of Afghanistan announced last week that 550 schools have been closed in 11 different provinces with strong Taliban influence.
CNN 5/24/12; BBC News 5/23/12; Reuters 5/23/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/17/12