Girls Poisoned in Afghan Schools: An Unprecedented Assault on Education

Dozens of girls in northern Afghanistan were poisoned in attacks on their primary schools, marking a concerning trend since the Taliban takeover.

In a disturbing development, approximately 80 girls were poisoned and hospitalized in two separate attacks at primary schools in northern Afghanistan, breaking the pattern of limited education and rights for women and girls under Taliban rule.

The assaults, occurring in Sar-e-Pul province, are believed to be the first of their kind since the Taliban’s rise to power in August 2021. While the motives behind the attacks remain unclear, a local education official mentioned that the perpetrator had a personal grudge.

The poisoned girls, in grades 1 to 6, were swiftly taken to the hospital and are now reported to be in stable condition. The investigations into the incidents are ongoing, but initial findings suggest that a third party was hired to carry out the attacks. Similar instances of poisonings have been reported in neighboring Iran, predominantly affecting girls’ schools. The responsible parties and the substances used in these incidents have yet to be identified, adding to the urgency of addressing this disturbing trend and ensuring the safety of girls’ education.