Landmine kills 13 in southern Afghanistan

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At least 13 people were killed on Friday when their vehicle set off a landmine in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, local officials said, blaming Taliban fighters for the attack.

The blast happened in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province when people were travelling to an open-air market, where hundreds of villagers gather for weekend sales.

Bahir Ahmad Ahmadi, a spokesman for Kandahar provincial governor said the villagers were blown to pieces, and could not be identified.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the landmine blast. Taliban fighters say they use roadside bombs and landmines to attack security forces, but civilians are frequently hurt or killed.

Years of conflict have left Afghanistan strewn with landmines, which are often picked up by curious children.

In 2018, at least 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by landmines and unexploded munitions.

Children made up one third of overall casualties that year, and 80 percent of those casualties were caused by unexploded munitions, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.

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