AFP, November 18, 2011
Seven Afghan children die in two blasts
Afghanistan faced years of conflict before 2001 and explosive devices dating from this period regularly cause deaths and injuries, often to curious children
KABUL — Eight Afghans, including seven children, were killed in two separate blasts Friday, officials said, the latest civilian deaths to hit the troubled country.
In the first incident, four children died when a roadside bomb went off as they played near their home in Nangarhar province, near the country's eastern border with Pakistan.
In the second, three children and an old man, all members of the same family, were killed when their rickshaw hit another roadside bomb in the southern province of Uruzgan.
The killings were the latest reminders of the high death toll suffered by civilians in the war since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban from power.
"Four children were killed and six others were slightly injured as a result of a roadside bomb explosion," said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar.
But the interior ministry said the explosion was caused by a mortar apparently left over from Afghanistan's decades of war. It put the death toll at two.
Afghanistan faced years of conflict before 2001 and explosive devices dating from this period regularly cause deaths and injuries, often to curious children.
However, most bombings are linked to the Taliban-led insurgency, despite a call from Taliban leader Mullah Omar earlier this month for fighters to limit civilian casualties.
A spokesman for the chief of police in Uruzgan, Farid Ail, said the second blast came as the three children and one man were driving towards their home.
"As a result of the explosion, three children and an elderly man died," he said.
The United Nations said the number of civilians killed in the war during the first half of this year rose 15 percent to 1,462, with insurgents responsible for 80 percent of the deaths.
There are around 140,000 international troops, mainly from the United States, in Afghanistan helping government forces combat a Taliban-led insurgency.
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