Blast kills 10 Afghan girls collecting firewood

DAWLATZAI, Afghanistan Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:54pm IST

Afghan security personnel stand at the site of a blast in Kabul December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan security personnel stand at the site of a blast in Kabul December 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail

DAWLATZAI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - 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 the farming village of Dawlatzai in volatile Nangarhar province.

It could have been by a bomb planted by the Taliban, a landmine, or other unexploded ordnance left over from decades of conflict.

"The girls were collecting firewood and they were digging the ground with axes when the blast happened," district governor Mohammad Sediq Dawlatzai said.

Relatives and villagers carried the bodies of the girls - aged between nine and 11 - from the site of the blast on simple wooden beds on their shoulders. They were covered in thick bedspreads.

Hundreds of mourners prayed near their corpses, spread out on the dirt floor out before burial.

"I was having breakfast when I heard a bang. I came out of my house to see what had happened," villager Jan Mohammad told Reuters.

"Nearby children asked me to bring some bedspreads, then I got back home and took my car. Later I carried three of the wounded children to the public health centre."

Women and children are often the victims of fighting in Afghanistan.

Ten years after Soviet forces occupied the country in 1979, they left defeated but Afghans later endured a civil war between warlords that destroyed half of the capital Kabul.

Taliban militants emerged from the ashes of that conflict and imposed their austere interpretation of Islam from 1996 until they were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001.

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. (Reporting by Rafiq Sherzad; Writing by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Michael Georgy and Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Oil Prices Fall

Oil Prices Fall

Brent near four-year low after OPEC decides against output cut  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

India says considering plan to reduce stake to 52 pct in state banks   Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Summit salvaged after handshake by leaders of India, Pakistan  Full Article 

Social Media

Social Media

Twitter to start tracking users' mobile apps  Full Article 

Forever21 in India

Forever21 in India

Forever21 sets sights on Indian cities, but please hold the hot pants  Full Article 

Japan Economy

Japan Economy

Japan inflation slows in October, output and spending show signs of recovery  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage