About 150 Afghan girls were poisoned today after drinking the water at their Takhar province school, in what officials believe was a deliberate attack by Islamist militants opposed to educating girls. "We are 100% sure that the water they drunk … was poisoned," an education department spokesperson tells Reuters, speculating that it could be the work of "irresponsible armed individuals."
The stricken girls suffered from vomiting and headaches, and some are in critical condition, officials said. Educating women was banned under the Taliban, and there have been periodic attacks on female students ever since they returned to schools in 2001, with hardliners poisoning or throwing acid at them. Last year the Afghan government said that the Taliban had dropped its objections to female education as it explored peace talks, but insurgents have never confirmed that. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)