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Bomb Attack Kills 9 Children, 1 Adult in Afghan School - 2004-08-29


In Afghanistan, a powerful bomb explosion has killed at least nine children and injured 15 others. A separate attack on election workers has caused the United Nations to suspend its operations temporarily in the eastern part of the country.

Afghan officials and the U.S.-led military coalition say the children were killed Saturday evening when an explosion ripped through a school in the town of Zormat, in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktia.

A U.S. military statement says that coalition personnel provided immediate emergency medical treatment to the injured. It condemned the attack on civilians and said the coalition is assisting local authorities in the investigation.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghanistan's south and southeastern provinces are still considered strongholds of fugitive members of the ousted Taleban government.

In another development, U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters in Kabul that a U.N. vehicle came under bomb attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar. He said the occupants escaped injuries, but U.N. operations there have temporarily been halted.

"[The] preliminary report is that this improvised explosive device had a remote-controlled system. The U.N. has suspended road missions to Rodat district temporarily until we have a clear understanding of what actually happened," he said.

The Islamic Taleban militia has carried out frequent attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan, mainly targeting U.S.-led coalition forces and those supporting transitional Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The international coalition is hunting these militants in its efforts to rid Afghanistan of terrorist forces.

The Taleban has vowed to disrupt the presidential election in October, which it says will strengthen Washington's control of Afghanistan.