The Taliban’s Poisoning of Afghan Schoolgirls

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As Farooq Wardak, Afghanistan’s Education Minister, has noted, “During the Taliban era the percentage of girls of the one million students that we had was 0 percent. The percentage of female teachers was 0 percent. Today 38 percent of our students and 30 percent of our teachers are female.”

Not surprisingly, those educational successes have also coincided with a decade of some remarkable progress made by Afghan women in other spheres, including the rise of women’s advocacy groups; election to government office; and training as military pilots and Olympic athletes.

Unfortunately, their incremental educational gains are being violently jeopardized by an unrelenting Taliban campaign of terror, a campaign which has subjected Afghan females to acid attacks and shootings; the destruction of their schools through arson, rocket and mortar attacks; and the killing of their teachers.

Examples of that campaign of violence includes ten Taliban fighters arrested for squirting acid onto 15 girls who were walking to school in the province of Kandahar, an assault which caused severe burns and disfigurement to many of the girls; Taliban gunmen beheading the headmaster of a girls’ school in Kabul: and insurgents destroying over 240 girls’ schools throughout the country.

Of course, it should be noted that while the Taliban are the most overtly lethal opponents of educational opportunities for Afghan women, they have been abetted in their efforts by the nodding assistance of Muslim men in the region who more often than not treat women little better than livestock.

As Farooq Wardak has acknowledged, historical opposition to schooling for girls extends beyond the Taliban to the “deepest pockets” of Afghan society, a patriarchal society that remains heavily stacked against Afghan women and girls.

For example, Afghan females are subjected to the widespread and socially accepted practice of forced child marriage; honor killings; and the traditional Afghan practice known as “baad,” whereupon women are given away to pay family debts or settle disputes.

Not unexpectedly, the result of these and other abuses has made Afghanistan one of the world’s most dangerous and unforgiving places for women, where the life expectancy of an Afghan woman is just 44 years, where 31 percent suffer from physical violence and another 30 percent suffer from psychological trauma.

Now, a sustained terror campaign by the Taliban against their burgeoning educational aspirations threatens to add to those nightmarish woes.

More disturbingly, it also comes as US, Afghan government officials and the Taliban have been engaged for several months in an effort to initiate peace talks that could lead to the Islamists playing a role in the Afghan government once the American-led Coalition forces completely withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

While the Taliban suspended the peace talks in March and instead have reignited a spring offensive — highlighted by well-orchestrated attacks on Kabul and three provincial capitals in eastern Afghanistan — the haunting specter of its potential return to power is cause for fear among Afghan women.

As Manizha Naderi, who heads the civil rights group Women for Afghan Women recently said, “If there are negotiations with the Taliban, women’s rights will be the first to go, and women will be forced to stay at home all over again,” adding, “Dark days are in Afghanistan’s future.”

Unfortunately for Afghan schoolgirls, those dark days are already here.

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  • truebearing

    More testimony to the evil inherent in Islam, yet our media is more interested in parading photos of soldiers holding up the blown off legs of suicide bombers. In their tarrish moral opacity, the "journalists" imply that suicide bombers are deserving of not only respect, but even reverence, yet we hear little if anything about these girls. I guess Islam's War on Women isn't a media topic that was sanctioned by Imambama.

    • Muslim

      I am against this act and I am a Muslim. Islam does not teach this.

      • truebearing

        You are safer expressing your thoughts, and have less fear doing so, here where there are many who have deep distrust of the teachings of Islam, than you would in front of fellow Muslims, especially members of the Muslim Brotherhood or other radical Islamists. What does that say about Islam and its adherents?

      • johnnywoods

        Islam does teach this and you know it. Your religion also permits you to lie to infidels of which I proudly admit to being.

      • Whatsinaname

        Islam teaches hatred and contempt for females. We already know about takiya so don't bother telling us how fair and just Islam is.

    • Stephen

      One small problem: the attacks never actually happened – multiple tests by the UN, NATO and WHO found no trace of toxins. Rather this is thought to be a case of mass pscyhogenic illness. (Google Matt Aikin's recent article for more details). Of course, the Taliban's actions against female education are bad enough in themselves – although in no way representative of Islam. Remember, the parents sending their children to these schools would certainly consider themselves devout Muslims – and the actions of the Taliban as deeply anti-Islamic.

  • UCSPanther

    Disgusting. These freaks are certainly not human, and they should be treated like the vermin they are.

  • Bamaguje

    Where are the opinionated loudmouthed Western 'feminists' when you need them?

    • kafir4life

      Too busy looking for TonyDs new twitter address or posing as Columbian prostitutes that were being tested for the arrival of Barrack.

  • kafir4life

    I have to side with the muslims here. The girls violated a core principle of islam, that "if you're not muslim enough, if you want something that allah has forbidden, then you must pay the price". If every muslim were to kill just one muslim a day (as is their religious right), the problem will be gone within a month or so.

    • CCB

      Wow! You really mean what you say. Remember my brother, we live in a spiritual world occupied by flesh. Don't let the Demons of hatred reside inside of your soul. The True God of this world does not want to see his children kill or injure one another. He is all LOVE and tolerance for those who fail him. That's why Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and the rest of this world. When we believe and trust in Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit which in turn produces righteousness in our lives and when we sin we recognize our failure and reconcile with God through his Son Jesus. This is LOVE. Seek the truth.

  • PhillipGaley

    But for all this and much worse beside, to dispose of or to have slaughtered the Taliban, our side appears to have made only infrequent and half-hearted attempts.

  • BS77

    I feel so sorry for young children, women, school girls and the elderly …who must live under the heel of this hideous Taliban scourge. One longs for the day when this barbaric Dark Age horror is totally forgotten.

  • theleastthreat

    Funny, I didn't hear about this on the news. Or hear about the ensuing Afghan protests either. What's up with that?

  • ajnn

    no protests ?

  • kongMing

    Conservatives on Women: Government mandates to force employers to pay for contraception and sex changes in a economy with insolvency issues should be prevented.

    Leftists on Women: Let’s abandon our Afghani allies including women and girls to male torture murderers and pedo rapists. Let’s invite the Moslem brotherhood who executes women for being raped to the White House. Let’s only address the Mexican drug cartel, who tortures and murder women to extort them into prostitution, only with a botched machine gun trafficking scheme in a feeble attempt to ignite a gun control debate.

    • SKIP

      Sorry about the expletive. The White house is now called the PEOPLE'S HOUSE because the use of the word WHITE was apprently racisssssssssssss the place could now be called the OUThouse.

  • Mike Smith

    Except there was no poison.

    As an Afghan analyst, I have obeserved four or five incidents like this a year for the past ten years. Western experts have investigated every one, testing the air, water, soil, and even the blood of the girls affected. No trace of poison has ever been found. It is in fact a type of mass hallucination to which girls this age are prone.

    There was even a similar case in upstate New York within the past year, when eleven school girls began developing what appeared to be symptoms of Tourets Disease. There were wild claims of poisoned water, toxic waste, gas in the air and so on. Not one boy was affected. After exhaustive investigation by dozens of experts, it was found to be a mass hallucination.

    So everyone here has gotten themselves all worked up into a lather over a "news" story about poisoning for which there was absolutely no proof whatsoever. Of course, the media never follows up on these stories and reports the truth: No trace of poison was found, and the girls all recovered in a few days.

    • SKIP

      We MUST prevent mass hallucinations at all costs, the last one got Obama elected as the WON or in some cases as the MASSIAH! We can't let that mistake happen again though alas! I personally believe and predict that Obama will in fact be re-elected and that will herald the end of America as a bastion of freedom. I further believe that it will herald the beginning of Civil War II in the form of race and religious warfare.

    • Don Kosloff

      What was the source of your information?

    • RonCarnine

      Mike, I was a cop for 16 yrs, and I happen to know that there are any number of poisons available that leave no trace after a short period of time. To label this as "mass hysteria" is ridiculous. Where the heck do you get your information? AND what the heck is an "Afghan analyst"? I think maybe the term "Afghan Taliban Apologist" would be a more correct term to describe what you are trying to get people to believe. Mass hysteria is very hard to accomplish, in fact almost impossible. The Taliban has reacted violently to the education of women in the past and there is no reason to doubt they are at it again. Plus the lab tests available to the "investigator" in this case are primitive indeed and certainly unreliable.

  • Rev. Roy

    With 2.7 million women and girls in school now, surely they could take one class a day and raise up a well-trained female, armed militia. Let's go America..train them before leaving.
    Rev. Roy…<><

    • SKIP

      A good idea Rev. Roy but it is a matter of mind set! For example, WHY does the republican controlled house of congress not do what they promised? Mind set, they fear the democrats and hope all the problems will go away and indeed they would IF the republicans would grow some nads and defund all of the unpopular programs that have been forced on us citizens. Same thing with Afghan women/girls they fear retaliation by the taliban and retaliation would indeed be forthcoming as it would be from the democrats directed at the republican surrender monkeys.

  • Ibrahim

    Muslims have passed judgments on many topics as Islamic and unIslamic after the death of Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century A.D. The Talibans claimed their banning women from education are based on the Koran and Tradition understood by them. While other Muslims have provided education for women based on the Koran and Tradition understood by them. Like the Kharijites passed thier judgment on Ali bin Abi Talib as an infidel based on their understanding of the Koran. Ali did not see the validitity of the judgment passed by the Kharijites on him, He waged wars against the Kharijites after they rebelled against his leadership as the fouth pious caliph.. In my mind, Muslims have different views on many topics although they base their views on the Koran and Tradition. Some Muslims are aggressive and violent because they choose particular verses of the Koran and texts of Tradition to support their aggrresion and vioilence against women like the Talibans. Some Muslims are good and helpful persons because they choose particular verses of the Koran and texts of Tradition to support their good, friendly and helpful attitudes toward women..

    • johnnywoods

      Islam does not want educated women because it is the religion of ignorance. Heaven forbid that women should be allowed to think for themselves or even be able to read. Hmmmmmm, I seem to remember that white slave owners in the South felt that way about their slaves.

      • zemplar

        it's no coincidence that the muslim countries with the lowest birth rates – even worse than in the west (and getting worse) – have the highest rates of female literacy among muslim countries (Iran and Turkey). Whereas bottom-of-the-muslim-pile (and that's saying something) Somalia and Yemen, which are basically living in the dark ages, rolling around in filth, disease and chopping each other up, have the highest, around 7 children per female.

        another reason for muslims to keep females uneducated – more expendable bodies for jihad.

    • zemplar

      I sat in my hotel room in Paris this week, and watched BBC World News. 80 percent of the items were about problems in muslim countries, muslims killing other muslims who were considered not muslim enough/not supporting one muslim as opposed to another, or muslims killing non-muslims because they weren't muslims.

      Nice try, Ibrahim, but Islam is not a religion. It's a violent, sick, backward, retarded military/political ideology that needs to be eradicated from the face of this planet if it's the last thing mankind does.

    • kevinh

      So Ibrahim, are you for the whole poisoning school girls thing or against it? Now that you've explained to us that the Koran and "tradition" doesn't have a problem with it, what are your thoughts?

  • Elizabeth

    Islamists are a virus.
    We'd have a better chance of reasoning with Ebola than we would with these subhumans.

  • Brujo Blanco

    The Taliban should not be negotiated with. They only engage in talks to gain concessions. After gaining concessions they will resume doing what they do. These people are injuring and disfiguring children. This demonstrats that they are untrustworthy and homicidal.

  • Dispozadaburka

    Thank Brzezinski.

    He is behind their training.

  • mrbean

    Why police officers don't eat at restuarants eith black employees. A police officer's family won a jury verdict of $40,000 after they sued for being served food at KFC that was tainted with urine and spit from a BLACK employee. Nebraska police officer Keith Andrew and family filed the lawsuit in Cheyenne County District Court after their two sons, aged 4 and 7, became violently ill after eating the food. Their lawsuit claimed that not only were their meals tainted, but that employees kept "special servings" aside for police officers. According to news reports, the employee responsible for the urine and spit admitted to soiling another officer's food as well. Jesse Jackson used to brag about when he was a teen how he spit in white peoples soup and finger his butt and rubbed it on their sandwich.