At least 82 Afghan girls have been hospitalized after being poisoned at two schools in the north of the country. Both schools are located in the province of Sar-e-Pol, police and education authorities said Monday. The attack comes after the Taliban regime tightened control over female education and banned women from high school and university. Two months ago, hundreds of girls were also poisoned in schools, this time in neighboring Iran.
The first of the attacks, in which 56 students were affected, occurred last Saturday. In addition to the girls, three teachers and one teacher, two janitors and a father were also poisoned. On Sunday there was a second poisoning of which 26 other girls and four teachers were victims, reports the Efe agency.
"Some unknown persons entered the girls' school in Sancharak district and poisoned the classes," the police spokesman in the Sar-e-Pol region told Reuters of Saturday's attack. "When the girls arrived, they became intoxicated," continued the agent who, however, has not explained what substance was used to commit the attack or who are suspected of having perpetrated it. So far, according to the spokesman, no one has been arrested. The girls had to be hospitalized, although, according to police, "they are in good condition."
Before the withdrawal of the international coalition and the return to government of the Taliban, in August 2021, there had already been some mass poisonings against girls in schools. The fundamentalist government has banned women's access to secondary and university education since it regained power, despite condemnations from international and human rights organizations and opposition from part of the population. The only female education allowed is primary, up to the age of 12.
The attack in Afghanistan comes months after a wave of mass poisonings of girls in 30 schools in neighboring Iran forced hundreds of children into hospitals for the use of some type of poison gas against them. The attacks took place in Qom, Shi's holy city, but also in other cities, including the capital, Tehran. At first, the reaction of the Iranian authorities was to minimize what happened and attribute it to carbon monoxide leaks, but finally, in the face of popular pressure, an investigation was opened into "the possibility of criminal and premeditated acts."
Fear of further attacks led many families to prevent their daughters from going to school, according to press critical of the regime in Tehran. The absenteeism of the girls has caused the closure of several educational centers in Qom, where at least a dozen of the around 30 attacks of this type are concentrated, always according to the Iranian press.
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