Afghan Schoolgirls Poisoned by Gas

Afghan Schoolgirls Poisoned
A girl in Nechem, Afghanistan. Photo by Tracing Tea/Shutterstock

HERAT, Afghanistan, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Unidentified gases in two schools in Herat,Afghanistan, sent more than 300 schoolgirls to hospitals this week, and officials suspect the acts were intentional.

On Thursday, 115 girls were hospitalized according to Herat Regional Hospital spokesman Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai, who spoke to CNN. The girls were from nine to 18 years of age, and Sherzai said Thursday marked the third incident of its kind in Herat.

A similar wave of illness struck another school in Herat on Monday, affecting 140 girls. On Wednesday 68 fell ill at the same school.

Only some of those girls were hospitalized and most were feeling better by the afternoon. One school teacher told Pajhwok Afghan News she fainted after she smelled something bad.

Deputy governor of Herat province Aseeluddin Jami said the incidents were intentional but did not suggest who may have been at fault.

Abdul Razaq Ahmadi, head of education for the Herat province, told Voice of America suggested the perpetrators were enemies of education, and warned people to pay attention.

Attacks against schoolgirls in Afghanistan take place very frequently as many groups, including the Taliban, don’t think girls should be educated.

In July, motorcycle assailants threw acid at three teen girls on their way to school in Herat. The girls were aged 16 to 18 and two were critically injured.


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