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Nine children killed by mine in Afghanistan

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A landmine explosion killed nine children in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday, an official said, as civilian casualties increased during the conflict.

The blast occurred in the Darqad area in Takhar province when children passed over a mine planted on a road in a village controlled by the Taliban.

“Nine school students were killed this morning at 0830 (0400 GMT) when a landmine planted by the Taliban exploded,” spokesman for the governor of Takhar province Jawad Hijri told AFP.

All children were boys between the ages of seven and 11, he said.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban on the incident.

Last month, the United Nations published a report saying that an “unprecedented” number of civilians were killed or injured in Afghanistan from July to September this year.

The figures – 1,174 deaths and 3,139 injuries from July 1 to September 30 – represent a 42 percent increase over the same period last year.

The United Nations blamed “anti-government elements” such as the Taliban for the bulk of the responsibility. The Taliban are carrying out an insurgency in Afghanistan for more than 18 years.

A month ago, seven children were killed and 10 wounded in Laghman province when a shell they were playing with exploded.

Insurgents often use roadside bombs and mines to target Afghan security forces, but these deadly weapons also cause civilian casualties.

Years of conflict have left many mines, unexploded ordnance, missiles and bombs across Afghanistan, often approached by children as they play.

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