An education official in Afghanistan said almost 80 girls were hospitalised after being poisoned at schools, Fox News said.
According to reports, the incidents happened over Saturday and Sunday in the province of Sar-e-Pul in the north.
Mohammad Rahmani, the director of the provincial department of education, said the poisoning had occurred in the Sangcharak district among female pupils in grades 1 through 6.
He said that 60 children at Naswan-e-Kabod Aab School and 17 more at Naswan-e-Faizabad School had been poisoned, Fox News reported.
"Both primary schools are near to each other and were targeted one after the other," he said, adding, "We shifted the students to the hospital and now they are all fine."
The department's investigation is ongoing and initial inquiries show that someone with a grudge paid a third party to carry out the attacks, Rahmani said, without sharing further details. He gave no information on how the girls were poisoned or the nature of their injuries, according to Fox News.
It is thought to be the first time this kind of assault has happened since the Taliban swept to power in August 2021 and began their crackdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls.
Girls are banned from education beyond sixth grade, including university, and women are barred from most jobs and public spaces Fox News reported.
The attack serves as a reminder of a wave of poisonings in neighbouring Iran targeting school-age girls, dating back to November.
Thousands of students said they were sickened by noxious fumes in the incidents. But there has been no word on who might be behind the incidents or what -- if any, chemicals have been used, Fox News reported.