Asia

Afghanistan: Blast kills nine children as they walk to school

Police in Afghanistan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 1,100 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan from July 1 until September 30 (file picture)

Nine children have been killed in a roadside blast in north-eastern Afghanistan as they made their way to school.

The children - eight boys and a girl aged between seven and 10 - accidentally stepped on a deliberately-planted mine, officials said.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the bomb.

Last month, the UN said 1,174 Afghan civilians had been killed in the three months until the end of September.

More than 3,000 people have also been injured over this period, the UN said.

"At 8.30am (04:00 GMT) this morning, tragically, nine school children were martyred in a landmine blast," Jawad Hejri, a spokesman for the Takhar provincial governor, told AFP news agency.

He alleged that the roadside device had been planted by the Taliban, which had taken control of Takhar Province for several weeks before Afghan forces recently regained control.

The militants routinely plant roadside devices as they leave a district in the hope of targeting advancing security forces.

The Taliban has not responded to a request for comment on the incident.

Last May, a landmine killed seven children and wounded two more in the southern province of Ghazni.

In February, seven children were killed and 10 more wounded in Laghman province when a mortar shell exploded as they played with it.

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Media captionThe young face of a brutal war: Secunder Kermani reports from one of the country's busiest hospitals in the southern city of Kandahar

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