Afghan street food
Over 100 boys fell ill after being sold beans by a street food vendor Reuters

More than 100 Afghan schoolboys have been hospitalised after they ate beans sold to them by a food vendor who claimed the meal would help them pass their exams.

The students, who are aged between 10 and 14 and attend the Fatiha School in the western Afghan city of Herat were hospitalised on Saturday (11 April).

Another police official, Fauf Ahmadi told NBC News that one of the children are seriously ill.

One student, identified as Ahmad Zubair said: "A man selling boiled beans told us to eat them.

"After eating the beans we felt bad and started vomiting and we were all brought to the hospital."

Malika Paygham, head of Herat regional hospital, said: "The students got poisoned before entering their class while eating boiled beans and in 40 to 50 minutes their conditions got worse."

Deliberate poisoning suspected

The street vendor has been arrested by police and Herat's police chief, Abdul Jabar Rozi has said that an investigation has been launched to determine if the food was deliberately poisoned.

"Enemies might be behind this," Mr Rozi said.

In the past, the Taliban has poisoned Afghan police and army soldiers in their bid to oust the US-backed government, but episodic reports of poison attacks on schools have found to be due to accidental food poisoning or mass panic.

The poisoning incident comes just a day after the bodies of five aid workers for Save the Children were found on Friday (11 April), 39 days after they had been kidnapped by the Taliban in the central province of Uruzgan.

"The Taliban had demanded the release of five of their people in exchange but the central governor did not let them free. So they shot these people and we found their dead bodies from Chanarto district on Friday," said Dost Mohammad Nayab, a spokesman for the provincial governor.