A rocket exploded in the middle of a packed school in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday and six children were killed and 14 other people wounded, police said. The rocket landed in the yard of Salabagh School in Asadabad, close to a U.S.-led coalition base, said Mohammed Hasan, a police commander in the city in volatile eastern Kunar province, near the Pakistani border.
The wounded, including at least one teacher and the school cleaner, were rushed to a hospital at the base, he said. The bodies of the six dead students were handed over to their parents, who came rushing to the school when they heard the blast. "Shrapnel from the rocket slashed through the children who were studying in the yard because there aren't enough school buildings," Hasan said. "Six were killed."
Hundreds of children aged from six to 16 were in the school at the time of the attack, he said. A second rocket also landed near the school, but it exploded in an open field and hurt no one, the police commander said.
Hasan blamed the Taliban for the attack and accused them of targeting the school as part of the rebels' campaign against government-sponsored education. Militants in Kunar regularly attack the coalition base with rockets, but they rarely hit. Asadabad sits at the bottom of a steep river valley and is surrounded by rugged mountains. A U.S. military spokesman in Kabul said he had no details on the blast, reports the AP.
The Russian missile cruiser Varyag, which is currently staying in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, blocked the US Navy aircraft carrier strike group in the Adriatic Sea