Afghan school girls recover from poison attacks

Over 150 girls and teachers are being treated at a hospital following a poison attack in the Takhar province. (Reuters)

Over 150 girls and teachers are being treated at a hospital following a poison attack on their school on Tuesday in the Takhar province. According to doctors this is the third attack on schools in northern Afghan provinces of Balkh and Takhar.

Takhar province Police Chief, Mahmood Hassan, said an investigation team at the school found that a toxic material appeared to have been sprayed in the air prior to the girls' entering the premises.

Many of the students suffered headaches, vomiting and even fell unconscious as they were being admitted to the hospital.

Police blame radicals for attacking schools with unidentified toxic powder which is used to contaminate the air in classrooms.

The radicals oppose the education of women and girls.

Amena Jan, one of the girls who was poisoned, described her experience.

"When I came into class I smelled something and then started to vomit and fell unconscious. I don't remember what happened after that," she said.

Head of Takhar regional hospital, Habibiullah Rustaqi, said he was looking into the incident.

"We have already sent the blood samples of poisoned students to a laboratory in Kabul in order to get a clear result of what happened. All of these incidents are similar. It has created a panic among students. I have suggested to officials to shut the school at least for a week," he said.

Only a month ago, 150 schoolgirls were poisoned in Takhar province after drinking water that had been contaminated.

Following the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 led by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, girls have returned to schools, especially in the country’s capital Kabul.
Previously, they were banned from receiving an education and women from working.

However, there are still periodic attacks against students, teachers and school buildings, usually in the more conservative south and east of the country, from where the Taliban insurgency draws most of its support.



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