Dec 17, 2012 | Common Dreams | Andrea Germanos
As US mourns 20 children killed in gun massacre amid calls for greater gun control, landmine blast leaves Afghans mourning
At least 10 young girls in Afghanistan were killed on Monday from what is believed to be a landmine explosion.
The girls, aged 9-11, were collecting firewood in the eastern section of the country.
Relatives and villagers carried the bodies of the girls - aged between nine and 11 - from the site of the blast on simple wooden beds on their shoulders. They were covered in thick bedspreads.Agence France-Presse reports that "despite international clearance efforts, more than three decades of war have left Afghanistan one of the most heavily-mined countries in the world."
Hundreds of mourners prayed near their corpses, spread out on the dirt floor out before burial.
Following its latest annual report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Mark Hiznay, editor of the report, said that despite the "great gains" made towards achieving a mine-free world, "eliminating the daily impact landmines have on countless communities will require a sustained international effort for years to come.”
The US is not a signatory to the landmine treaty, thus maintaining the right to produce them.
In a separate incident on Monday, a suicide bombing in Kabul that targeted US contracting company Contrack International Inc. left two civilians dead.
Human rights lawyer and law professor Bill Quigley writes that while the President offers condolences to the families of the 20 children shot in the massacre in Newton, Connecticut, he must also remember the countless children across the globe who die in tragedies every day, including "the 231 children killed in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of this year."
And on Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in a report that ongoing violence in Afghanistan was taking an “unacceptable toll” on civilians, with an increase in civilian casualties of 28 per cent between 1 August and 31 October compared to the same period last year.
"Women and children are often the victims of the war between the Taliban and US-led Nato and Afghan forces, now in its eleventh year," the Irish Times writes in a report on Monday's blast.