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The Associated Press, May 11, 2010

Ten wounded, 30 fall ill in attacks on Afghan schools

In a related development Tuesday, 30 schoolgirls fell ill suddenly after they smelled a "strange odour" at Khadijatul Kubra High School in Kunduz

Six schoolboys and four teachers were injured Tuesday in a bombing on a school in eastern Afghanistan, while 30 schoolgirls fell ill in a suspected poisoning in the north, officials said.

The blast, triggered by a bomb hidden inside the building, occurred as students were entering Rohi High School in the Mandozai district of the south-eastern province of Khost, said Mubarez Zadran, spokesman for the provincial governor.

He said the 10 injured were in stable condition at a provincial hospital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which is common on educational facilities in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry condemned the bombing and blamed "enemies of peace and stability of the country," a term commonly used by Afghan officials to describe the Taliban.

During their 1996-2001 reign, the Taliban banned education for girls in Afghanistan. They have been responsible for torching dozens of schools and killing students and educational officials since the regime was ousted by a US-led military invasion in late 2001.

In a related development Tuesday, 30 schoolgirls fell ill suddenly after they smelled a "strange odour" at Khadijatul Kubra High School in Kunduz, the capital of the province with the same name, said Humayun Khamoosh, head of the central hospital there.

The girls were hospitalized and doctors were trying to figure out the cause of their sickness, he said.

"A man in dark clothes entered our class while we were still in the compound of the school," said a 13-year-old schoolgirl, who identified herself by a single name, Shukria.

"When we entered the class, the man was not there, but I felt dizzy and then collapsed," said Shukria, who was gasping for breath in a hospital bed.

The incident came days after dozens of students fell ill in Kabul and Kunduz city in suspected poisonings. No group claimed responsibility for the mysterious attacks.

Such incidents were also reported in other northern provinces last year, but Afghan authorities have so far failed to identify the substance that they believe caused the students and their teachers to fall unconscious.

President Hamid Karzai said this month that the incidents were triggered by "poisoned gas" and instructed security officials "to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous act."

Other officials in Kunduz blamed the Taliban for such attacks, but the militant group's spokesmen denied their fighters' involvement in the incidents.

Category: Children, Education - Views: 7197