Explosion kills five kids in southern Afghanistan
Afghan officials say at least five children have lost their lives in a massive explosion in the country’s troubled southern province of Helmand, Press TV reports.
Colonel Omar Jan Haqmal, the police chief for the Nad-e-Ali district, said on Thursday that the children, all below the age of ten, had found an old rocket in the area, located approximately 650 kilometers (403 miles) southwest of the capital, Kabul, and were playing with it when it exploded late on Wednesday.
Some local residents, however, said the blast claimed the lives of ten kids.
Meanwhile, Taliban militants have taken full control of the Nawzad district in the same province, following two days of intense clashes with government forces there.
“Over the past two days, clashes in Nawzad district have resulted in the death of nine policemen plus seven army soldiers, and the entire district has fallen into the hands of Taliban,” Mohammad Hashim Alkozai, a lawmaker, said.
“We don’t have security. We face danger every day when we leave our houses,” Lal Gul, a resident of Nawzad district, said.
The development came only a few days after the Kohistanat district in the northern Afghan province of Sar-e Pol fell to Taliban militants.
This file photo shows Taliban militants at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.
Taliban members reportedly took control of as many as 80 villages in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz Province on Monday night.
Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The offensive removed Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still beset with insecurity.
At least 13,500 foreign forces remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014. The forces, mainly from the US, are there for what Washington calls a support mission. NATO says they focus mainly on counter-terrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.