Dozens of Afghan schoolchildren were taken to hospital over the weekend after they were believed to have digested poisoned beans sold to them by a street vendor suspected of working with the Taliban.
Authorities said that the poisoning that occurred could have been orchestrated by terrorists as over 100 youngsters who were between 10 and 14 years old, were admitted to hospital with stomach complaints on Saturday.
According to the affected students at the Fatiha School in Afghanistan's Herat province, they were told by a street vendor that buying the beans would ensure them good marks in their upcoming exams. The man was later arrested and an investigation has been launched by police into whether the beans were deliberately tainted.
Abdul Jabar Rozi, Herat's police chief, did not rule out foul play by the Taliban, telling local press, ““Enemies might be behind this.”
He added: “These are insurgents who want to kill our children.”
There have been reports of the Taliban poisoning Afghan Police and soldiers in the past, but after investigations these incidents have usually turned out to be the result of poor food hygiene rather than deliberate acts.
The news of the poisoning comes a day after Afghani police announced that five aid workers from the international charity Save the Children had been killed, 39 days after being kidnapped by Taliban insurgents.
According to a spokesman from the central province of Uruzgan where the aid workers were killed, the Taliban had demanded the release of five Taliban prisoners in return for the release of the hostages, but shot the aid workers when the central governor refused.