(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Islamic extremists opposed to women’s education have been blamed for poisoning as many as 140 schoolgirls Tuesday in the Afghanistan eastern province of Takhar.
District governor Mohammad Hussain said the women, ages 14 to 30, became sick after drinking water from a tank that had apparently been contaminated. They were all taken to an area hospital for treatment.
While no deaths were reported, most of the victims either became dizzy or vomited, with at least a few briefly losing consciousness.
Education Department spokesman Jan Mohammad Nabizada said he and others “are 100 percent sure that the water they drunk inside their classes was poisoned,” while Hussain added that “some radical elements who oppose girls going to school are behind this act.”
Millions of women and girls in Afghanistan are now getting an education, which was forbidden when the Taliban ruled the country until their ouster in late 2001.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN