KABUL, Afghanistan, July 5 (UPI) -- Attackers on a motorcycle threw acid into the faces of three teenage girls on their way to school in western Afghanistan's Herat province on Saturday, according to officials.
The two men told the girls the attack was "punishment for going to school," CNN quoted Aziz-ul-Rahman Sarwary, head of the education department in Herat province, as saying.
The girls were between the ages of 16 and 18 and reportedly attended one of the largest schools in the provincial capital of Herat city. Each girl was admitted for medical care in a local hospital before being picked up by their parents. Two were reportedly in critical condition.
Provincial police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told CNN authorities were working hard to find the men responsible.
Acid attacks on women are not uncommon in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Suspects in the past have said Taliban militants pay large cash sums to carry out the assaults, including in November 2008 when two men on a motorcycle squirted acid on two girls walking to school in Kandahar.
During its strict Sharia rule of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban forbade women from attending school.
Other attacks have been attributed to men scorned in marriage proposals.