A landmine in Afghanistan killed 10 young girls while they were gathering firewood on Monday. Officials in the eastern region believe that the explosion stemmed from an old landmine that was hidden in a rural field. Such old weaponry is reportedly not uncommon in the Middle East nation, according to Voice of America.
The Afghanistan area where 10 girls lost their lives is located near the Pakistan border in the Nangarhar province where militant Taliban groups are said to be active. It is currently unknown if the landmine was truly was an old device or one recently planted in the area.
At least one other unexploded mine was found near where the 10 Afghan girls were killed. Provincial police spokesman Hazrat Mashreqiwal reports that the landmine explosion did not occur near a roadway or any other obvious target, according to CBC News.
General John Allen called Afghanistan one of the most “heavily mined” countries on the globe. He offered his sincere condolences to the families of the little girls who lost their lives while merely attempting to accomplish a common domestic task. General Allen also sadly noted that landmines do not discriminate.
A UNICEF statement shared by CNN reports that children are naturally curious and are often likely to be the ones who pick up odd objects found on the ground. The butterfly or toy-like shaped mines that Soviet forces once reportedly cast “by the millions” in Afghanistan were also noted in the statement after the landmine tragedy.
The girls who died in the landmine explosion range in age from nine to 13 and are from different families from the Dawlatzai village.