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Afghan bombings kill nine children, 10 others

June 03, 2013|By Hashmat Baktash and Alex Rodriguez
  • Afghans look at shoes that remained at the scene after a vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the Alingar district of Laghman province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. A statement from the provincial government said a group of four women and two children had gone with a male driver into the hills to collect firewood. On their way back, their vehicle hit the mine and all inside were killed.
Afghans look at shoes that remained at the scene after a vehicle was hit by… (Rahmat Gul / Associated…)

KABUL, Afghanistan—Two bomb blasts killed at least 19 people, including nine schoolchildren, in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, as Afghan Taliban militants continued a wave of violence as part of their spring offensive.

In one attack, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated his explosives in a busy market in eastern Paktia province along the Pakistani border, killing nine schoolchildren and an Afghan police officer, said Paktia police chief Zalmai Oryakhail.

Two U.S.-led coalition soldiers were among those killed in the attack, NATO forces said. Their nationalities were not disclosed as of Monday afternoon. An Afghan police officer also was killed, Oryakhail said.

The target appeared to be a U.S. military convoy that had been passing by a school in the area at the time of the blast, Oryakhail said.

Earlier Monday in eastern Laghman province, a car ran over a roadside bomb, which killed a family of seven inside, including four women and two children, said Sarhadi Zowak, spokesman for eastern Laghman province. The family had driven to the mountains to gather firewood and were on their way back home when the blast occurred, Zowak said.

United Nations officials condemned both attacks.

“These attacks resulted in a high number of civilian casualties, with minimal impact on their purported military targets – any such violence is unacceptable, but especially when it involves civilians and even more so when it involves children,” said the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis. “Any attacks which deliberately take place near a school can only be condemned for the heinous attacks that they are.”

Insurgent violence in the past two weeks has killed 125 Afghan civilians and injured 287, a 24% increase in total civilian casualties from the same period in 2012. Antigovernment forces were to blame for 84% of all civilian casualties during that two-week period.

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Special correspondent Hashmat Baktash reported from Kabul and staff writer Alex Rodriguez reported from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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