KABUL (Reuters)—Around 60 Afghan girls were hospitalized after being poisoned at their school in northern Afghanistan, police said on Monday.
The poisoning, which targeted a girls' school in the Afghan province of Sar-e Pol, comes after intense scrutiny of girls' education in the war-torn nation since the Taliban took over and barred most teenage female students and after a wave of poison attacks on girls' schools in neighbouring Iran.
"Some unknown people entered a girls' ... school in Sancharak District .. and poisoned the classes, when the girls come to classes they got poisoned," said Den Mohammad Nazari, Sar-e-Pol's police spokesperson, without elaborating on which substance was used or who was thought to be behind the incident.
Nazari said the girls had been taken to hospital but were in "good condition." No one had been arrested.
In neighboring Iran, poisoning incidents at girls' schools sickened an estimated 13,000 mostly female students since November.
During Afghanistan's previous foreign-backed government, several poisoning attacks, including suspected gas attacks, on girls' schools had taken place.
The Taliban administration has prevented most female students from attending high school and university since taking over in 2021, sparking condemnation from international governments and many Afghans.
The Taliban rapidly seized control of the country in 2021 as the Biden administration withdrew troops. Amid the disastrous withdrawal, 13 U.S. service members were killed in an ISIS suicide bombing and Afghan civilians were mistakenly killed by a U.S. drone strike.
Taliban authorities have kept primary schools open for girls, up until the age of around 12 and say they are in favor of female education under certain conditions.
(Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Stephen Coates)