Afghan children killed by explosion near NZ firing range - report

Seven Afghan children were killed when an explosion occurred near a New Zealand firing range in Afghanistan, according to a report.

The blast happened in 2014 after a child discovered an explosive device at the range and carried it back to a nearby village, according to Stuff Circuit documentary Life + Limb.

Local woman Raina lost three children in the blast.

"We have lost them and nothing can bring them back," Raina told Stuff Circuit.

The New Zealand Defence Force says $10 million has been designated to clear its ranges in Afghanistan, which it left in 2013. Overseas militaries are in charge of clearing their firing ranges if they are in another country, according to the UN.

"You can't just leave unexploded ordnance behind in somebody else's country," head of UN Mine Action Service in Afghanistan Patrick Fruchet told Stuff Circuit.

A statement provided to Newshub from an NZDF spokesperson said, "In June 2018, the NZDF received a report from Human Rights Watch which asserted a link between victims of unexploded ordnance and New Zealand's live firing ranges.

"The Human Rights Watch also linked the deaths in April 2014 of seven children to a range used by the NZDF.

"However, this range was cleared in October 2013 by a contractor of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan, and was assessed as being free from landmines and explosive remnants of war."

The spokesperson said the history of conflict in Afghanistan meant "the level of unexploded ordnance contamination across the country makes it extremely difficult to definitively link unexploded ordnance incidents with particular weapons used by a variety of nations, over many years.

"Nevertheless, the NZDF remains committed to working with the Afghan authorities to clear the ranges to the new standard."