Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Eight Suspects Arrested Over Afghan Schoolgirls' Poisoning

A schoolgirl receives treatment at a hospital after being poisoned in Takhar Province on May 23.
A schoolgirl receives treatment at a hospital after being poisoned in Takhar Province on May 23.
By RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
A security official in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar Province says eight suspects have been arrested over alleged links to the recent poisoning of schoolgirls.

The official told RFE/RL on June 5 that preliminary investigations pointed to the detained suspects having links with Taliban fighters and the militant Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Health officials in Takhar have said some 800 schoolgirls recently fell ill after allegedly inhaling poisonous gas that was released at six schools in the region.

The Taliban has denied any involvement in attacks on schools and demanded punishment for those responsible for the gas attacks.

In 1996-2001, when it held power over most of Afghanistan, the Taliban barred girls from attending schools, deeming female school attendance un-Islamic.
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Comment Sorting
by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
June 05, 2012 16:46
The Taliban want the women barefoot, uneducated, and submissive to their demands. Their not kidding anyone.
In Response

by: james r. from: usa, new castle pa
June 05, 2012 22:21
Taliban desires females to be barefoot,uneducated,submissive?, sounds like the republicans! P.S., Borat was correct about those Uzbekistanis.
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
June 06, 2012 00:48
Really Bill? There is no evidence of poisoning.

An Afghan education ministry spokesman, Abdul Saboor Ghufrani, said:

"There have been a number of suspected poisoning cases of schoolgirls in Takhar province recently, but initial investigation by health and security teams in the area have failed to detect traces of any poison".

"In some cases doctors in the area have reported they suspect a psychological cause behind these incidents, but we cannot yet definitely rule out the possibility of a deliberate attempt by some group to sicken our students."

Local officials regularly accuse Taliban insurgents, who banned schooling for girls while in power from 1996 to 2001, of poisoning school wells or using "gas" or "toxic powder" against the girls.

But with no physical cause established, Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist and author specialising in the field, said the poisoning scares had "all the earmarks of mass psychogenic illness, also known as mass hysteria".

The tell-tale signs include the fact that most victims are girls, the absence of a toxic agent, the rapid onset of and recovery from symptoms, and anxiety generated by a wartime backdrop, he said.

He said there was a history of similar cases in combat zones, listing examples from the Palestinian territories in 1983 to Soviet Georgia in 1989 and Kosovo in 1990.

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