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Canadian military launches probe into deaths of 2 children in Afghanistan

The Canadian military is investigating allegations that two Afghan children were killed in an explosion caused by a shell left by Canadian troops.

The Canadian military is investigating allegations that two Afghan children were killed in an explosion Monday caused by a shell left by Canadian troops.

The probe follows the accusation by a Panjwaii district elder who claims two children were killed and three wounded when they came across an unexploded Canadian rocket from a firing exercise in the village of Salehan, about 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city.

Army spokesman Maj. Mario Corture confirmed troops were in the area on Sunday conducting firing exercises. But he said they followed standard procedure and swept the fields before departing.

"We do have very strict policies that prohibit leaving behind any unexploded ordnance and make every effort to make sure the safety of Afghan civilians and our own personnel while we conduct those ranges, or after we conduct those ranges," Corture said.

Corture said the military's National Investigative Service has launched a probe.

Corture pointed out that the blast occurred in a very dangerous area known to be littered with all kinds of unexploded ordnance and mines.

The allegation sparked an angry protest outside the provincial council office in Kandahar city. Demonstrators shouted "death to Canada" and "death to America" as bodies of the two children were carted off to the gates of the Kandahar governor's guest house.

The provincial police have blamed the Taliban for the explosion, the Canadian Press reported, but have not yet provided evidence.

With files from the Canadian Press

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