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Afghan Schoolgirls Hospitalized After Suspected Poisoning

Schoolgirls who fell ill after reportedly smelling gas at their school, receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 1.
KABUL -- A number of girls appear to have been poisoned at a school in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A teacher at the Sultan Razia High School told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that students fell ill after smelling some kind of gas when they entered their classrooms on May 1.

The Education Ministry said that 20 schoolgirls have been hospitalized.

However, a doctor -- who gave his name as Amin -- at the Kabul hospital that received the patients told the Reuters news agency that 150 girls had been admitted and 10 were in critical condition.

Hospital officials also told Reuters that the girls may have become ill from something they drank.

There have been false alarms in the past, but there have also been many substantiated cases of such attacks by religious conservative elements opposed to education for girls.

High Peace Council Member Killed In Ambush

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, officials have announced that a member of the country's High Peace Council has been killed in an ambush by militants in the south of the country.

A spokesman for Helmand Province's governor told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that Malim Shawali, his driver, and two bodyguards died in the attack in the Greshk district on May 1.

Spokesman Omar Zwak said Shawali's convoy was first hit by an explosion, and then "Taliban gunmen opened fire."

A number of others were wounded.

The High Peace Council was established in 2010 by President Hamid Karzai to engage in peace negotiations with Taliban leaders.

On April 30, three British soldiers were also killed in Helmand Province.

Britain's Ministry of Defense says their armored vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while on a routine patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district.

Nine Afghans were killed in separate attacks around Afghanistan on the same day.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa