Kabul: As many as 97 girls at two schools in northern Afghanistan have fallen sick after a suspected gas poisoning.
The Pajhwok news agency said 77 girls at a school in Maimana in Faryab province, and another 20 girls at a school in Behsud in Sar-e Pol province fell ill after reportedly smelling gas during classes.
"When the girls started fainting, the teacher noticed a man running in the school ground," one of the victims told the news agency.
Investigators also believe the girls could have fallen ill due to heat and insanitary conditions at the schools.
Poisoning attacks at Afghan schools are often staged by the Taliban who are against education for women.
The country`s education ministry said some 550 schools were recently closed over security concerns.