updated 4/11/2006 6:21:35 AM ET 2006-04-11T10:21:35

A rocket exploded in the middle of a packed school in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing six children, 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.

At least 14 people were wounded, including one teacher and the school cleaner, Hasan 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.”

School packed with kids
Hundreds of children ages 6 to 16 were in the school at the time of the attack.

Hasan blamed Taliban insurgents 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.

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