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    School blown up in Helmand

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Gunmen blew up a school building overnight in the southern province of Helmand, but there were no casualties, officials said on Sunday.

    The middle school was blown up in Ainak area of Nava district on Saturday night, the governor's spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The structure was damaged in the blast, but there were no casualties, he said.

    Deputy education director, Mohammad Wali Khan, confirmed the incident, saying a delegation had been sent to the area for investigation.

    The gunmen placed bombs in two halls of the school and detonated them with a remote-controlled device at 7pm, a teacher of the school, Abdul Sattar, said.

    Eight rooms of the total 13 rooms and the two halls were comprehensively damaged in the explosions that also burnt copies of the holy Quran and other religious and text books, he said. No tribal elder had arrived at the scene, the teacher said.

    "Our teacher told us that the school is closed," a student, Sher Mohammad, said.

    Sattar said that a prominent Taliban commander, Mullah Habash, who got education in the same school, had been living in the area. "Habash favours education and he helps us in this regard," the teacher said.

    A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, condemned the incident, calling it the handiwork of the enemies of education.