Acid attack girl vows to go back to school

November 16, 2008


KABUL, Nov 15: An Afghan teenager whose face was burned in an acid attack by suspected extremists vowed from her hospital bed on Saturday to continue going to school even if it put her life in danger.

Men on motorbikes used a water pistol to spray acid into the faces of Shamsia and around dozen other girls as they arrived at school, wearing burqas in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday.

Shamsia, 17, was the most badly injured and had some acid enter her eyes.

She was transferred to a military hospital in Kabul where she was visited on Saturday by other schoolgirls, accompanied by media.

“I will go to my school even if they kill me,” she told reporters. “My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”It is not clear who carried out the attack which President Hamid Karzai and other officials blamed on the “enemies of Afghanistan” — a broad term that most often refers to Taliban insurgents.

However a Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, told AFP by telephone his group would “never do such a cowardly thing against girls and children”.

This year around 115 schools have been set on fire, bombed or bulldozed in attacks education ministry spokesman Hamed Elmi blamed on “the opposition”. About 120 people in the education sector have been killed in the attacks, he told AFP.

The acid attack — extremely rare in Afghanistan — drew condemnation from US First Lady Laura Bush who described it last week as “cowardly and shameful”.

The Afghan women’s ministry added its criticism on Saturday, saying in a statement “the enemies” could not stand in the way of education of women through such attacks.—AFP