Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar has long seen violence between insurgents and government or international forces, and a growing number of children have become victims. Khalil - from the province’s Zhari District, who goes by only one name and says he is “about 15” - told IRIN of a bomb blast in which he lost his leg.
“I am from Kholk village in Zhari District. Around two weeks ago I went to visit my sister. When I was coming back from her house I saw three men putting something in the ground. I didn’t know they were planting a mine. When I reached the spot I tripped on a wire. Three steps later the mine exploded. This [he points to his severely injured leg] is what happened. I think the men who planted the mine were hiding somewhere very close.
“After a while, some people took me to the ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] hospital, but there wasn’t much they could do so they took me to Kandahar airport for a night and finally here [to Mirwais hospital in Kandahar]. I have been here for the last 10-13 days.
“There are many cases like this in my district. Many times people lose their hands, legs, eyes and ears. I know other children and older people who have received serious injuries or were even killed.
“I blame the Taliban for this. The Taliban saw me coming towards the mine but they did not warn me. They plant a lot of mines in the area. Once they planted a mine in front of our house.
“I don’t know why we are oppressed all the time. I can’t even go to school. They closed the school down, and now the government is using our school as a checkpoint. I am only studying in a mosque. I wanted to become successful, but it doesn’t look like I can achieve that now.
“I feel pain in my injured leg. Hundreds have been victims of bombs like me. I am happy that I am still alive. The doctor said they would make a [prosthetic] leg for me. I don’t know how I will cope with one leg.”
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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