At least 82 girls hospitalized after being poisoned in two schools in Afghanistan | International

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At least 82 Afghan girls have been hospitalized after being poisoned at two schools in the north of the country. Both educational centers are located in the province of Sar-e-Pol, as reported by the police and the country's educational authorities on Monday. The attack comes after the Taliban regime increased control over female education and barred women's access to high school and university. Two months ago, hundreds of girls were also poisoned in educational centers, this time in neighboring Iran.

The first of the attacks, in which 56 students were affected, occurred last Saturday. In addition to the girls, three teachers and a teacher, two janitors and a father also suffered from poisoning. On Sunday there was a second poisoning of which another 26 girls and four teachers were victims, reports the Efe agency.

"Some unknown persons entered the female school in the Sancharak district and poisoned the classes," a police spokesman in the Sar-e-Pol region told Reuters about the attack on Saturday. "When the girls arrived, they were intoxicated," continued the agent who, however, has not explained what substance was used to commit the attack or who are suspected of having carried it out. So far, according to the spokesman, no person has been arrested. The girls had to be hospitalized, although, according to the police, "they are in good condition."

Before the withdrawal of the international coalition and the return to the Taliban government, in August 2021, there had already been some mass poisonings against girls in educational centers. The fundamentalist Executive has prohibited women's access to secondary and university education since it resumed power, despite condemnations from international and human rights organizations and opposition from part of the population. The only female education allowed is primary, up to 12 years of age.

Toxic gas

The attack in Afghanistan comes months after a wave of mass poisonings of girls was known in more than 90 schools -according to UN data from March 16- in neighboring Iran that forced hundreds of minors to be admitted to hospitals for the use of some kind of toxic gas against them. The attacks took place in Qom, the holy city of the Shi'ism, but also in another twenty provinces, including that of the capital, Tehran. At first, the reaction of the Iranian authorities was to minimize what happened and attribute it to carbon monoxide leaks, but finally, due to popular pressure, an investigation was opened into "the possibility of criminal and premeditated acts."

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Fear of new attacks led many families to prevent their daughters from going to class, according to the press critical of the Tehran regime. The absenteeism of the girls has caused the closure of several educational centers in Qom, where at least a dozen of the almost hundred attacks of this type are concentrated.

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