Nine children killed in Afghanistan landmine blast

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(Al Jazeera) – Nine children were killed when a planted roadside bomb exploded as they walked to school in a northeastern province of Afghanistan, government and police officials said.

The blast happened in Darqad district of Takhar province on Saturday, when the children, aged between eight and 11, stepped on the bomb planted on a road in a Taliban-controlled village.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, and the Taliban did not immediately respond to a request for comment following the deaths of the children, the latest victims in a growing toll of civilian casualties in the war.

The Taliban often uses roadside bombs and landmines to target Afghan security forces, but the lethal weapons also inflict casualties on civilians.

Years of conflict have left Afghanistan strewn with landmines, unexploded mortars, rockets and homemade bombs – and many are picked up by curious children.

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