Girls School Poison Gas Attack Suspected in Afghanistan

April 21, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Girls school poison gas attack: Dozens of Afghan schoolgirls became ill after being exposed to gas, and officials said they are being examined for potential poisoning.

“We have already sent samples of their blood to the Ministry of Public Health and it will soon become clear what the reason for their illness was,” Dr. Jamil Frotan, who heads the hospital where the girls were sent, told Reuters.

As many as 74 girls were sickened after smelling gas at the Bibi Maryam school in Talquan, located in Takhar province around 150 miles north of Kabul, the capital.

Sulaiman Moradi, a spokesman with the Takhar government, told the news agency that “enemies of the government and country” were behind the mass illness.

He said it was perpetrated to prevent the girls from going to school.

Last week, 17 students at a girl high school were sickened in a similar incident in Takhar, reported the Khaama Press.

The Press reported that the majority of the girls were discharged from the hospital,

There have been several dozen gas attacks in Afghanistan in the past few years. Radical groups and Islamists are usually blamed for the incidents although no group has claimed responsibility.

And last year, nearly 700 female students in Takhar were sickened by drinking contaminated water or smelling poison gas, according to Rawa News.

Since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001, which banned education for girls and women, many females have gone back to school. However, there have been some attacks against female students, teachers, and schools.