17/12/2012 06:30 GMT | Updated 17/12/2012 09:40 GMT

Afghanistan Landmine Explosion Kills 10 Girls

At least 10 girls have been killed and two other injured after a landmine exploded in eastern Afghanistan.

The girls were aged between nine and 11 and accidentally hit the mine with an axe whilst they were collecting firewood, the Chapahar district governor Mohammad Seddiq Dawlatzai said, reported Sky News.

Two other girls are in a critical condition in hospital.

It is unclear whether the mine was left over from the Soviet era or was planted by Taliban insurgents more recently.


There are an estimated 100,000 landmines in Afghanistan

"This area was used during fighting against Russians but the Taliban and Afghan government are also fighting in this area," a tribal elder told the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul.

However Mr Seddiq told the Associated Press the blast was caused by "an old mine left over from the time of the jihad (a war against Russian troops in the 1980s)." At least one other mine was found nearby, reported the Guardian.

The Soviet Army waged war in Afghanistan for nine years during the cold war era. The conflict has been described as "the Bear Trap" or Soviet's Vietnam, due to the unremitting guerilla nature of the warfare. Both Soviets and the Mujahideen used landmines to attack the other side.

There an an estimated 100,000 landmines still left over from decades of conflict in Afghanistan and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been working to clear landmines since the Operation Enduring Freedoms began.

An explosion also rocked the outskirts of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, killing at least one person.

car bomb kabul

Wreckage left by the car bomb in a snowing Kabul

The blast took place inside the compound of US company that works on international military contracts. However it is not clear whether the 'Contrack' company was the intended target of the car bomb.

Up to 30 people were also injured in the blast on Jalalabad road, where many Western companies and Nato houses are located.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, saying that the compound was targeted because it was company working with the government, reported the Associate Press.