Apr 25 2010
More than 80 schoolgirls have fallen ill in three cases of mass sickness in northern Afghanistan, raising fears that Islamic terrorists who oppose education for girls are using poison to scare them away from school
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) –The latest case occurred Sunday when 13 girls became sick at school, Kunduz provincial spokesman Mahbobullah Sayedi said. Another 47 complained of dizziness and nausea on Saturday, and 23 got sick last Wednesday. All complained of a strange smell in class before they fell ill.
Mr. Sayedi blamed the sickness on “enemies” who oppose education for girls. Presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said any attempt to keep girls out of school is a “terrorist act.” (Yet these Taliban are the people with whom Obama is trying to negotiate a deal)
The Taliban and other conservative extremist groups in Afghanistan who oppose female education have been known to target schoolgirls. Girls were not allowed to attend school when the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan until they were ousted in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Last year, dozens of schoolgirls were hospitalized in Kapisa province, (See Below) just northeast of Kabul, after collapsing with headaches and nausea. An unusual smell filled the schoolyard before the students fell ill. The Taliban was blamed, but research into similar mass sickenings elsewhere has suggested that some might be the result of group hysteria.
Anesa, a 9-year-old girl who was among those hospitalized Sunday, said she noticed a strange odor and then saw two of her teachers fall unconscious. “I came out from the main hall, and I saw lots of other girls scattered everywhere. They were not feeling good,” Anesa, who gave only her first name, told the Associated Press from the hospital. “Then suddenly I felt that I was losing my balance and falling.”
The Health Ministry in Kunduz said blood samples were inconclusive and were being sent to Kabul for further testing. WASHINGTON TIMES