Schoolgirls in Afghanistan (Image, REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
Islamic Emirate have denied involvement in recent “poison gas” attacks that led to 300 girls being admitted to hospitals in Afghanistan. Three separate incidents were reported at schools in the Herat Province. The girls affected are age nine to 18.
International Business Times reported,
“more than 140 girls fell ill immediately after inhaling toxic fumes in one of the schools. Two days later, a similar incident hit another school. Many teachers were also taken to hospital.”
“the victims’ parents alleged the gas attacks were carried out by opponents of the government.”
Abdulqahar Balkhi, an official spokesperson affiliated with the Islamic Emirate responded to my question on the gas poisoning tweeting,
“we have repeatedly rejected such baseless reports, IEA does not allow anyone to carry out such actions”
This is not the first time attempts have been made to malign the Taliban regarding attacks on schoolgirls and denials issued though they are rarely reported in the media. In areas that the Taliban have reclaimed, girls schools are being reopened along with those of the boys. The denial comes shortly after an earlier statement condemning the killing of 14 civilians in Balkh, Islamic Emirate spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said,
“we call on our nation to be vigilant of all enemy plots, not be influenced by mere propaganda and to discern the real culprits of ailments and take a strong stand against them.”
See link for full statement,
“Afghanistan: Taliban condemn killing of 14 civilians in Balkh, warn to be vigilant of Enemy plots”
The Taliban have claimed that their fighters were exposed to gas poisoning during the attack on Shorab airbase (Camp Bastion) in Helmand Province in November/December 2014. The assault lasted for 4 days and occurred one month after U.S. and coalition troops turned over the base to the Afghan military. The Taliban were telephoning other militants relaying progress reports from the base. After the attack a press release from Islamic Emirate included the following lines,
“after putting up fierce resistance for several days, the invaders finally used internationally banned chemical weapons fired from air on 01/12/2014 from which the last Mujahid attained martyrdom, may Allah accept them”
“Chemical Weapons: Islamic Emirate (Taliban) latest alleged victims of attack?”
This could not be independently verified but does raise serious concerns.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.