Monday, December 17, 2012

10 Afghan girls collecting firewood killed in blast

Noorullah Shirzada / AFP - Getty Images

Afghan volunteers carry the body of a girl killed when in an explosion as they were collecting firewood Monday.

By NBC News staff and wire reports

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET: A blast killed 10 Afghan girls Monday as they were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan, government officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion in volatile Nangarhar province. It could have been a bomb planted by Taliban insurgents or a landmine left over from decades of conflict.

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The girls, between nine and 11 years old, were collecting wood in remote Chaparhar district, near the porous border with Pakistan, which is infested with some of the world's most dangerous militant groups.?

"Unfortunately, 10 little girls were killed and two others wounded but we don't know whether it was planted by the Taliban," said Ahmadzia Abdulzai, provincial government spokesman.

Women and children are often the victims of the war between the Taliban and U.S.-led NATO and Afghan forces, now in its 11th year.

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

One killed in Kabul bombing
Meanwhile, a truck full of explosives blew up when it hit the offices of a U.S.-based company in the capital, Kabul, killing one person and wounding at least 15, Kabul Police Chief Gen. Ayoub Salangi said.

The blast took place Monday at an office for the company Contrack, which sells and supplies generators in Afghanistan.

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An individual living near the facility told NBC News that some Americans work in the Contrack office, but no further details were immediately available.

According to its website, Contrack is headquartered in McLean, Va., and has had an office in Kabul since 2003. It was acquired by Orascom in 2005.

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NBC News? Akbar Shinwari and Reuters contributed to this report.

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