A disturbing New York Times article published this week brings to light a very scary reminder that the plight of feminism isn't over yet: poison gas attacks targeting all-girls schools in Afghanistan. According to an Afghan official, said attacks have been going on for two years, with two attacks occurring in the past week.

 

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According to the article "The spokesman, Dr. Kargar Norughli, said his ministry and the World Health Organization had been testing the blood of victims in 10 mass sickenings and had confirmed the presence of toxic but not fatal levels of organophosphates. Those compounds are widely used in insecticides and herbicides, and are also the active ingredients of compounds developed as chemical weapons, including sarin and VX gas."

 

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The article continues: "Many local officials had dismissed the cases as episodes of mass hysteria provoked by acid and arson attacks on schoolgirls by Taliban fighters and others who objected to their education. But the cases have been reported only in girls’ schools, or in mixed schools during hours set aside only for girls."

 

The reality that girls can't even be educated in some countries without the risk of bodily harm—or death—is utterly heartbreaking. Perhaps worse is the denial by the community and the seemingly blasé action taken by the few officials investigating the case. By not searching for the method of how the gases were administered nor reporting on the cases after the attacks have been going on for two years is simply negligent.

 

Photo courtesy the New York Times 

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