60 schoolgirls are hospitalised after mass poisoning at a school in Afghanistan – after Taliban clamped down on female education
- Police did not confirm who was behind the incident or the substance used
- This comes after a wave of poison attacks on girls’ schools in neighbouring Iran
Around 60 Afghan girls have been poisoned at their school in northern Afghanistan, local police said on Monday.
Authorities said the girls were subsequently hospitalised and were recovering in ‘good condition’.
The poisoning, which targeted the girls’ school in the Afghan province of Sar-e Pol, comes after intense scrutiny of female education in the war-torn nation since the Taliban took over.
The Taliban have barred most teenage female students from school beyond the sixth grade through to university. Women are also barred from public spaces, including parks, and most forms of employment.
This comes after a wave of poison attacks on girls’ schools in neighbouring Iran.
The girls were subsequently hospitalised and were said to be recovering in ‘good condition’ (file image of Afghan women in Kabul, 2023)
‘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.
He did not elaborate on which substance was used or who was thought to be behind the incident.
Nazari said the girls had been taken to hospital but were in ‘good condition.’
The police spokesperson also confirmed that no one had yet 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 have barred most teenage female students from school beyond the sixth grade through to university (file image of Afghan school girls in 2019)
The Taliban administration has prevented most female students from attending high school 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.
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