About 50 Afghan schoolgirls became ill and were taken to hospital after a suspected gas poisoning in their school in southwestern Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday, the latest in a spate of similar incidents.The Taliban refuse to let girls get educated, and efforts to dissuade such education have included intimidation, numerous gas attacks, and even arson.
The teenage girls fell ill and some became unconscious after smelling gas at their school in Ghazni, a two-hour drive south of the capital, Kabul, said senior provincial police official Nawroz Ali Mahmoodzada.
"It is again the same kind of attack to discourage girls from attending schools," Nawroz Ali Mahmoodzada told Reuters.
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"It is very disturbing. We have not yet found any clues to say where this substance is from or who is behind it," he said.
Safiullah, a doctor in Ghazni's central hospital, said most of the girls were treated and discharged. Others were still under medical care, he said. Mahmoodzada said none had died.
Saturday's incident followed a similar pattern to other attacks at girls' schools involving an airborne substance which officials say could be poisonous gas.
Despite the repeated attacks, the Afghan girls keep going to school. There is hope yet that these girls can get an education and help improve the social and economic situation in the country.