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Blast from NZ firing range ammunition kills Afghan children


Seven children died in an explosion caused by a device left behind on a New Zealand Defence Force firing range in Afghanistan.

This woman says in the documentary she lost two sons in the blast that killed five other children. Source: Supplied / Stuff Circuit

A Stuff Circuit investigation has revealed 17 civilians were either killed or injured in connection to unexploded ordnance left on New Zealand's firing ranges.

New Zealand withdrew from Afghanistan in 2013, and a spokesperson told the Stuff Circuit documentary Life and Limb, its firing ranges were cleared as per the rules of the time.

The following year, seven children, aged between 5 and 12, died in an explosion near the Beersheba Range.

Their families say the area is commonly used by children, and have urged New Zealand to clean it up.

Last year, 39 square kilometres of former ranges were deemed dangerous, and the United Nations says New Zealand is responsible for making those safe.

Eugene Bingham, who helped produce Life and Limb, said the discovery was shocking.

"To learn that these firing ranges that New Zealand was using are associated with, according to the United Nations, the deaths and injuries of 17 civilians is a big deal and its's something New Zealand needs to deal with and decide: are we going to clean them up; are we going to deal with this and also what are we going to do about the victims of these explosions."

The Defence Force has set aside $10 million for the work, and is in talks with the Afghan government.

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