An Afghan official says an airstrike on a Taliban training camp in northern Afghanistan killed at least 20 insurgents and wounded many more on Monday, while the Taliban said the airstrike hit a religious school during a graduation ceremony, killing dozens of civilians.

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said “initial reports” indicate the airstrike in the Dashti Archi district of Kunduz province killed around 20 Taliban fighters, including a local commander, and wounded many more.

“I can confirm that a Taliban training centre was bombed and no civilians were present,” he said.

The Taliban said in a statement that the airstrike hit a madrasa, or religious school, killing and wounding more than 100 clerics, religious students and other civilians.

In a separate incident in the southern Helmand province, at least 48 schoolgirls fell ill at a high school in what provincial authorities suspect is a case of mass poisoning.

Dr. Nisar Ahmad Barak said the girls were admitted on Monday at his hospital in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, with headaches and vomiting, but that they are all now in stable condition and receiving treatment. He did not have any further details.

Ahmad Bilal Haqbeen, deputy director at Helmand's education department, said the girls attend the 11th grade at the city's Central Girls School. He said an investigation is underway. Both officials said the girls were deliberately poisoned.

Most of Helmand province is under the control of the Taliban, who oppose girls' education.



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