- Police say the school’s classrooms might have been sprayed with a toxic material before the girls entered
- Pupils complained of headaches, vomiting and dizziness before being admitted to hospital
By Anthony Bond
PUBLISHED: 07:28 EST, 30 May 2012 | UPDATED: 07:57 EST, 30 May 2012
Dozens of Afghan schoolgirls were rushed to hospital after they were poisoned at school in a suspected Taliban attack.
Police officers in Taluqan, northern Afghanistan, said the classrooms at the school might have been sprayed with a toxic material before the girls entered.
A total of 160 girls aged between ten and 20 from the Aahan Dara Girls School were taken to hospital.
They were complaining of headaches, vomiting and dizziness.
According to CNN, more than half of the girls were discharged within a few hours of treatment yesterday.
Last week 125 schoolgirls and three teachers were poisoned in Takhar province.
Scores of students were left unconscious.
The attacks have been blamed on the Taliban, who are accused of wanting to close schools before the 2014 withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the country.
Speaking following last week’s attack, police spokesman Khalilullah Aseer said: ‘The Afghan people know that the terrorists and the Taliban are doing these things to threaten girls and stop them going to school.
‘Now we are implementing democracy in Afghanistan and we want girls to be educated, but the government’s enemies don’t want this.’
Police officers said that last week’s attack was caused by radicals opposed to education of women and girls.
It is believed they used an unidentified toxic powder to contaminate the air in classrooms.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education said recently that 550 schools in 11 provinces where the Taliban have strong support had been closed down by insurgents.
Last month, 150 schoolgirls were poisoned in Takhar province after they drank contaminated water.
Since 2001 when the Taliban were toppled from power by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, females have returned to schools, especially in the capital Kabul. They were previously banned from work and education.
But 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.
The Taliban denied responsibility for last week’s attack and instead blamed U.S.and NATO forces which they accused of wanting to defame the group.