On the morning of April 1, seven children were playing in the lush wheat fields of Afghanistan’s Marjah district, in the southern Helmand province, by tossing around a metal object. Moments later, it exploded. The blast claimed five of their lives, including the youngest in the group, a 5-year-old boy.
“My daughter has not only lost her three sons, but also her senses,” Haji Abdul Salam, a 55-year-old farmer who lost two children and three grandchildren in the explosion, tells me at his home while attending to visitors there for the funeral. “She neither sleeps nor eats.”
But Salam is too devout to blame the ill-fated incident on the decades of war in Afghanistan, which have cluttered the country’s sprawling landscape with mines and munitions. “Allah prepared in Jannah that this event will happen in my home, and that He will take my children on this date,” he says.