A group of Afghan girls walking to school were sprayed with battery acid by two men on motorcycles Wednesday. The attack, which blinded at least two of the victims, took place outside of the Mirwais Nika Girls High School in the southern city of Kandahar.
It is speculated that the Taliban is behind these attacks, but according to Al Jazeera the Taliban has denied involvement.
One of the girls, 16-year-old Atifa, told the BBC that “we were going to school on foot when two unknown people on a motorcycle came close to us and threw acid in our faces…I want to ask the government why they cannot protect us, we girls want to study but the government is not helping us.” She went on to say “I don’t know why they did it. Kandahar is not safe, but we can’t stay at home, we want an education.”
Afghan girls were forbidden to attend school during the Taliban regime. Even now, a third of Afghan schools serve only boys. Only 28 percent of teachers in Afghanistan are female, making schools accessible to few Afghan girls. Low enrollment of girls is in part because of work, early marriages, and attacks on schools by militant extremists, according to the AFP.