Nine children in northeastern Afghanistan were killed while walking to school Saturday by a roadside bomb believed to have been planted by the Taliban.
Sayed Mehraj Sadat, the police chief in Takhar province, said the bomber's intended target was most likely Afghan security forces, who often use the road the children were walking on. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sadat said the victims were between 10 and 15 years old. Provincial police spokesman Khalil Asir told Reuters the victims were between the ages of nine and 12 and included four children from a "Taliban family."
In October, the Taliban launched large-scale attacks in several districts, including the Taluqan provincial capital, which were repelled by Afghan security forces.
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"This area is under Taliban control and since security forces launched attacks to clear it, the Taliban have planted anti-personnel mines," Asir told Reuters. [1
"Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations, "said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan.
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In May, a landmine killed seven children in the southern province of Ghazni. And in February, seven children were killed in the Laghman province when a mortar shell of the children was played with exploded.
On Oct. 18, at least 62 people were killed after a bomb went off causing the roof of a mosque to cave during Friday prayers in Nangarhar province.
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In September, President Trump tweeted that the Taliban “has never been hit harder than it is being hit right now,” after a year of peace talks between the US and the Taliban ended abruptly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.