Acid Attack On Afghan Schoolgirls
Causes Fear, Anxiety Among Parents
Afghan education authorities say they are facing a difficult task of convincing parents to send their daughters to school as attacks on female students have increased in recent months.
Three girls sustained severe burns in the southern town of
Under its strict interpretation of Islam, the Taliban regime banned girls from receiving educations while it ruled the country before its overthrow in late 2001.
Classes have been cancelled in
Mahmud Qaderi, the school's director, said only some 35 girls -- out of 1,300 students -- showed up at school on November 15. "Our classrooms are normally full," the director said.
Qaderi hopes parents' anxiety will soon disappear and that the girls will return to school.
One of the victims, Atifa, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that she was walking to school with her sister and cousins on the morning of November 12 when two men riding motorcycles sprayed acid on the girls' faces with water pistols.
Atifa said some of the girls were lucky enough to escape with minor injures, while at least three others were hospitalized with severe burns on their faces, necks, and hands. One of them is still unable to open her eyes and doctors fear she may lose her eyesight. She was taken to
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan officials blame the Taliban for targeting students. Girls were banned from school during the hard-line militants' rule that ended in 2001.
However, schoolgirls are also being targeted in the relatively stable and peaceful
Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for many of the attacks, vowing to carry out more.
Two girls were killed and three more wounded when gunmen targeted schoolchildren in
Parents Want Reassurance
Afghan leaders, including President Hamid Karzai, have condemned the latest acid attack in
Parents, however, want the government to do more than just condemning the attacks. Many want to know if the government is capable of protecting their children and preventing such incidents in future.
However, now she is having second thoughts. "I won't send my daughters to school after such an attack. Would you?" said the mother.
Patman said the Education Ministry has asked local governments to deploy more police officers to protect students and teachers and their schools.
They have also called on parents to accompany their children to and from school.
"Education Ministry alone cannot do much to protect our students and schools," said the deputy minister. "Everyone, including parents, local people, and religious leaders have to take part in this campaign -- because our country's future depends on the education system."
(This is RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan contributed to this report. )
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Wednesday, March 06, 2013