Taliban poison attack on Kabul girls school
By JON BOONE - GUARDIAN
Added: Thu, 26 Aug 2010 11:34:35 UTC
When the order came to evacuate the Totia high school, hundreds of girls ran from their desks clutching handkerchiefs and their headscarves over their mouths. School bags were abandoned as some leapt out of the ground floor windows of their dilapidated two-storey school block rather than trying to push their way through a melee of teenage girls all rushing to get out to fresh air.
Teachers tried to organise an orderly departure but their efforts were in vain amid rising panic that the school had become the latest in Afghanistan to be hit by an apparent poison gas attack.
A total of 46 students and nine teachers were treated in hospital after what Mohammad Asif Nang, an official at the education ministry, described as "an apparent poisoning" attack by "the enemies of women's education".
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There were at least 185 documented attacks on schools and hospitals in Afghanistan last year, according to the United Nations. The majority were attributed to armed groups opposed to girls' education.
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