EU urges investigation into 'appalling' poisoning of girls in Afghanistan

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The European Union called on Afghan authorities on Tuesday to investigate the poisoning of primary schoolgirls in the north of the country as 77 girls were hospitalized.

Two attacks took place on Saturday and Sunday in Sar-e-Pul province, local authorities said.

Sixty schoolgirls were poisoned at Naswan-e-Kabod Aab school and another 17 in Naswan-e-Faizabad, said the head of the provincial education department, Mohammad Rahmani. He said the attacks occurred at the start of the school day and the girls suffered from vomiting, asthma, vertigo and headaches.

Rahmani said the department's initial investigation revealed that the person who planned the poisonings did so out of personal grudge and paid a third party to carry out the attacks. She did not say what kind of substance was used to poison the girls, and local authorities have given no further information.

Authorities in Kabul were not available to comment on the EU inquiry request.

The EU said in a statement that it is an "egregious crime that the de facto authorities must investigate" in accordance with their obligations to protect the population under international law.

“The right to education is the human right of all children everywhere. Schools must be safe for all children.”

The Taliban government, which limited the rights of Afghan women of all ages upon taking power after the US and NATO departure in 2021, has not commented.

Girls' education is only allowed up to the sixth grade. Universities, most jobs and public spaces are closed to women.

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