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Sat Nov 22 23:11:50 SAST 2014

Landmine kills 10 Afghan girls after one accidentally strikes it with axe

Reuters | 17 December, 2012 09:40
Explosion. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A blast killed 10 Afghan girls as they were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, government officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion in volatile Nangarhar province. It could have been a bomb planted by Taliban insurgents or a landmine left over from decades of conflict.

The girls, between nine and 11 years old, were collecting wood in remote Chaparhar district, near the porous border with Pakistan, which is infested with some of the world’s most dangerous militant groups.

“Unfortunately, 10 little girls were killed and two others wounded but we don’t know whether it was planted by the Taliban,” said Ahmadzia Abdulzai, provincial government spokesman.

Women and children are often the victims of the war between the Taliban and US-led NATO and Afghan forces, now in its eleventh year.

Many Afghans are growing increasingly worried that the nation could face another civil war or a major Taliban push to seize power again when most NATO combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

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