December 7, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Official: Nearly 80 schoolgirls were poisoned and taken to hospitals in northern Afghanistan

Official: Nearly 80 schoolgirls were poisoned and taken to hospitals in northern Afghanistan

An education official in northern Afghanistan said that nearly 80 girls in two primary schools were poisoned in a targeted campaign.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nearly 80 girls were poisoned and hospitalized in two separate attacks on their primary school in northern Afghanistan, a local education official said Sunday.

It is believed that this is the first time this type of attack has occurred since the Taliban came to power in August 2021, and began their crackdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls.

Girls are barred from education beyond the sixth grade, including university, and women are barred from most public jobs and places.

The education official said the person who masterminded the poisoning had a personal grudge but did not elaborate.

The attacks took place in Sar-i-Bol province on Saturday and Sunday.

Mohammad Rahmani, head of the district education department, said nearly 80 female students were poisoned in Sangcharak district. He said that 60 students were poisoned in the Niswan Kaboud Ab School, and 17 others were poisoned in the Niswan Faizabad School.

“Both primary schools are close to each other and they were targeted one by one,” he told the Associated Press. “We took the students to the hospital and now they are all fine.”

Rahmani said that the department’s investigations are continuing and preliminary investigations show that someone with a grudge paid a third party to carry out the attacks.

He did not provide any information about how the girls were poisoned or the nature of their injuries. Rahmani did not give their ages but said they were in grades one through six.

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Neighboring Iran has been hit by a wave of poisonings, mostly in girls’ schools, dating back to last November. Thousands of students said they were sickened by the noxious fumes in the accidents. But there was no information available about who might be behind these incidents or what, if any, chemicals were used.