(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Hundreds of girls in a high school in northern Takhar
province have suffered poisoning in different incidents over a number of days. The
authorities suspect radical Muslims opposed to women's education.
poisoning occurred in three separate cases, the last one, yesterday. Forty-three
students at the Bibi Hajira High School in the provincial capital of Taloqan felt
ill for no apparent reason. Several fainted and had to be taken to hospital.
days earlier, 120 students and three teachers went through the same experience
in the same school, which has about 3,000 students.
believe that Muslim radicals opposed to the education of girls used an
unidentified toxic powder to contaminate the air in classrooms.
authorities have opened an inquiry. Blood samples were taken from the girls and
sent for testing.
they were in power (1996-2001), the Taliban banned schooling for girls. When they
fell, schools reopened but in areas where they operate, incidents and fires
occur in or near schools, often with harmful effects for the students.
Taliban have denied any responsibility in school destruction or the recent
girls involved in the latest case were dismissed from hospital after undergoing
the students recover quickly after their hospital visit and no evidence of
poisoning has been found, some experts believe that fear of Taliban retaliation
is causing mass hysteria.
a similar incident in Khost province, 200 students who said they felt sick were
tested by NATO doctors. The results were
negative; no trace of poison were found in the air, the water or any other possible
sociologist Robert Bartholomew, these incidents are part of a "larger social
panic involving the fear of Taliban insurgents".