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Official: Rickshaw bomb kills 11 kids in eastern Afghanistan

Official: Rickshaw bomb kills 11 kids in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb rigged to a rickshaw killed at least 11 children and wounded 20 others in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, a provincial official said, as violence in the war-weary country continued to surge.

Wahidullah Jumazada, spokesman for the Ghazni provincial governor, said the attack took place at about noon in the Gilan district.

Jumadaza said the bomb went off after a man driving a motorized rickshaw entered a village to sell goods and was soon surrounded by kids. He said the casualty toll could rise.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and Jumazada said an investigation had begun into why children were targeted.

Violence in Afghanistan has spiked in recent months even as the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators hold talks in Qatar, trying to hammer out a peace deal that could put an end to decades of war.

The attack comes after Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, held an unannounced meeting Tuesday with Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar, to discuss military aspects of last February’s U.S.-Taliban agreement. The agreement was intended to set the stage for direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Milley then flew to Kabul to consult with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Milley said he emphasized to both parties the need to rapidly reduce levels of violence. In his talks with the Taliban, Milley urged a reduction in violence across the country.