More than 120 schoolgirls and three teachers have been poisoned in the second attack in as many months blamed on the Taliban. All have been taken to hospital following the poison attack. Most have been treated and discharged but 30 – including three female teachers – are still being treated.
Reuters Police said preliminary evidence suggested that poisonous materials had been sprayed in classrooms at Bibi Haji school, in Takhar province. They believe that Taliban insurgents may be responsible. (May be? It’s ALWAYS the Taliban)
The attack occurred in Takhar province where police said that radicals opposed to education of women and girls had used an unidentified toxic powder to contaminate the air in classrooms. Scores of students were left unconscious.
The 125 victims, who include girls as young as 10, were taken to hospital on Wednesday after complaining of nausea, headaches and dizziness. Police spokesman Khalilullah Aseer said he believed Taliban insurgents were trying to spread fear by poisoning the schoolgirls.
Some officials have suggested that the suspected poisoning was made worse because of mass hysteria among school pupils in the aftermath of the attack. (That’s right, blame the girls for becoming hysterical at nearly being killed)
Afghan officials say the insurgents and other groups are behind a wave of similar attacks against schoolchildren in several provinces. In April, more than 100 schoolgirls from Takhar were taken to hospital after drinking water at their school that was suspected to be poisoned.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), says the Taliban appear intent on closing schools ahead of a 2014 withdrawal by foreign combat troops. “A part of their Al Farooq spring offensive operation is … to close schools. By poisoning girls they want to create fear. They try to make families not send their children to school,” NDS spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said.
The education ministry said last week that 550 schools in the 11 provinces where the Taliban have strong support had been closed down by them.