KABUL, Afghanistan – Three accidental explosions in the Afghan capital have left nine people dead and more than 20 wounded, including some counternarcotics police, officials said Monday.
A policeman dropped a rocket-propelled grenade that exploded as his unit set off from Kabul on Monday on an opium poppy eradication mission north of the city, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary.
Three policeman were killed in the blast, an Interior Ministry statement said. At least eight others were wounded, said Dr. Ahmad Zia Aftali, chief of the hospital where the injured were taken for treatment.
However, Khodadad, a policeman who goes by one name and witnessed the blast, said more than 15 were hurt.
Also Monday, four children died and one was were wounded when an old artillery shell they were playing with exploded, Bashary said.
Another police official, Sayed Ekramudin, said two civilians were killed and 13 others wounded in an explosion Sunday at a refuse dump in the city's northern outskirts.
Ekramudin said a truck had hit a buried explosive.
After decades of war, Afghanistan remains littered with unexploded ordnance.
Separately, insurgents shot at and hit a military-contracted civilian helicopter Monday in eastern Afghanistan, forcing the aircraft to land in Kunar province, a statement from the U.S.-led coalition said.
"The aircrew inspected the aircraft and found one bullet hole that did minor damage to the helicopter," the statement said.
No one was injured inside the helicopter, it said.
Initially the coalition said a plane was hit but later revised that information saying it was a helicopter.
In the country's south, NATO troops killed two insurgents and arrested four others during a clash Saturday, the alliance said in a statement.
The militants were killed in Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, during a patrol in which NATO troops also discovered a bomb-making factory, the statement said.
No alliance troops were injured during the clash.