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Sunday, 25 April 2010

Afghanistan: scores of schoolgirls fall ill after suspected gas attack

Map of Afghanistan with Kunduz highlightedMap of Afghanistan with Kunduz highlighted. Image via Wikipedia
Authorities are blaming the Taliban, although they have denied being responsible:
Scores of Afghan schoolgirls were knocked unconscious or made ill over the weekend by suspected poison gas attacks on their schools and authorities are blaming insurgents who oppose educating girls.
Provincial police chief Abdul Razzaq Yaqubi said about 48 girls and several teachers had become ill suddenly and many collapsed after smelling poison gas at a school in the northern city of Kunduz on Saturday.
Humayum Khamosh, a doctor at a Kunduz hospital, said another 13 girls fell ill after an attack at another school on Sunday.
"I was in class when a smell like a flower reached my nose," said Sumaila, 12, one of the girls hospitalized after the attack. "I saw my classmates and my teacher collapse and when I opened my eyes I was in hospital."
President Hamid Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omer said insurgents intent on spreading fear were to blame for the incidents.
"Whoever prevents children from going to school is an enemy of Afghanistan and its prosperity," he said. 
A Taliban spokesman denied the group was responsible, but said other anti-government groups could be to blame.

"We strongly condemn such an act that targeted innocent school girls by poisonous gas," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
This is not the first time that this method has been used to attack schoolgirls. Three days ago, more attacks were reported.
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