Landmine blast kills 13 in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province

At least 13 people were killed in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province after their vehicle set off a landmine.

Government officials have blamed Taliban for the attack.

The explosion happened in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province when people were travelling to an open-air market, where hundreds of villagers gather for weekend sales.

Bahir Ahmad Ahmadi, a spokesman for Kandahar provincial governor said the villagers were blown to pieces, and could not be identified.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the landmine blast. Taliban fighters say they use roadside bombs and landmines to attack security forces, but civilians are frequently hurt or killed.

Years of conflict have left Afghanistan strewn with landmines, which are often picked up by curious children.

In 2018, at least 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by landmines and unexploded munitions. Children made up one third of overall casualties that year, and 80% of those casualties were caused by unexploded munitions, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.