An explosion ripped through a school in southeastern Afghanistan, killing nine children and one adult, the U.S. military said Sunday.
An Afghan official said the blast on Saturday evening in Paktia province was caused by a bomb, though the military said it was still unclear.
“There was an explosion, that’s all we know,” American spokeswoman Master Sgt. Ann Bennett said. “Killed were four children, five teenagers and one adult.”
An 8-year-old boy injured in the blast was taken to an American military base for treatment, Bennett said.
Paktia Gov. Asadullah Wafa said eight children aged 7-15 were killed and 15 other people injured, three of them critically.
The American military said it was helping local authorities investigate the explosion, which Bennett said occurred as the children were attending an evening class.
Governor rips Pakistan
Wafa said the explosion was caused by a bomb planted by “puppets listening to their bosses outside the country” — a remark clearly aimed at Pakistan.
He didn’t elaborate.
The Mullah Khel school near Zormat, about 80 miles south of the capital, Kabul, was an Islamic school which also taught the more modern syllabus set by the Afghan Education Ministry.
It received funding from an international aid group, Wafa said, something that could conceivably have made it a target for Taliban-led militants.
Civilians have often been among the victims of violence between rebels and Afghan and U.S. forces across the south and east of Afghanistan.