The New York Times, July 4, 2013
Six Children Killed by Hidden Bombs in Afghanistan
A recent report by United Nations officials here found an alarming rise in civilian casualties, particularly among children
By Rod Nordland & Habib Zahori
KABUL, Afghanistan — Thursday was another bad day for girls in Afghanistan.
Four girls aged 5 to 8 who were at a wedding party in southern Helmand Province went out to fetch water from a hand pump, and as they were carrying the buckets of water back one of the girls stepped on a hidden bomb, which exploded and killed all of them, according to Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
It was another bad day for boys, as well. Two schoolboys on their way home, aged 10 and 12, tripped a roadside bomb in the Sarawza District of Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan and were killed, according to Mokhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the provincial governor, Muhibullah Samim.
An injured student gets treatment after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a school. (Photo: Noor/Xinhua/Landov)
“Such attacks on civilians, and especially on schoolchildren, shows that the sworn enemies of Afghanistan cannot tolerate seeing our children going to school,” Mr. Samim said.
A recent report by United Nations officials here found an alarming rise in civilian casualties, particularly among children, with more than three-fourths of those casualties blamed on attacks or bombs planted by the insurgents.
Of 3,092 civilian casualties this year through early June, 21 percent of them were children, an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.
Thursday was also a bad day for the halting effort to integrate women into Afghanistan’s police forces. One of southern Afghanistan’s few female police officers, Islam Bibi, was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle as she was walking in Lashkar Gah, the Helmand provincial capital. She later died of her wounds at the hospital. Her son-in-law, also a police officer, was wounded in the attack as well, according to Shah Mahmoud Ashna, a spokesman for the police in Helmand.
It was the second assassination of a female police officer in the past two months.
“The enemy is trying to create an atmosphere of fear, which is why they started this assassination campaign against female police officers,” Mr. Ashna said.
Characters Count: 2702