Afghan official says airstrike kills 30 Taliban fighters

An Afghan official says an airstrike on a Taliban training camp in northern Afghanistan killed more than 30 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. A number of children were being treated for wounds at a local hospital, indicating civilians were in the area.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said that the airstrike in the Dashti Archi district of Kunduz province killed more than 30 Taliban fighters, including nine commanders, updating an earlier toll. "I can confirm that a Taliban training center was bombed and no civilians were present," he said.

He said a large number of fighters had gathered in the area, where they wanted to hold a military parade.

The Taliban said in a statement that the airstrike hit a madrasa, or Islamic 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.