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Afghanistan: Boy, 5, dies after being trapped in deep well for several days

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By AFP
Afghan people gather as rescuers try to reach and rescue a boy trapped down a well in the Afghan village of Shokak, on February 17, 2022.
Afghan people gather as rescuers try to reach and rescue a boy trapped down a well in the Afghan village of Shokak, on February 17, 2022.   -   Copyright  Javed TANVEER / AFP

A five-year-old boy trapped for several days in a deep, dry well in southeastern Afghanistan has died, Taliban officials said Friday.

The child, named Haidar, "has left us forever," tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior adviser to the interior ministry. 

"This is another day of mourning and grief for our country," he added.

Haidar "is no longer with us," Abdullah Azzam, secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, confirmed on Twitter.

The child slipped to the bottom of the earthen well in Shokak village in Zabul province, about 400km southwest of the capital Kabul, on Tuesday.

Rescuers reached him on Friday morning. He was still alive when they got to him, but his condition was "not good" and he needed "local treatment", Ahmadullah Wasiq, a deputy spokesman for the Taliban government, had said earlier.

The accident was reminiscent of the one in Morocco in early February involving 5-year-old Rayan, who fell to the bottom of a dry well and was found lifeless after five days of relentless efforts by rescuers

The tragedy provoked considerable emotion, amplified by social networks, in Morocco and throughout the world.

Haidar's grandfather, Haji Abdul Hadi, 50, told AFP the boy fell into the hole while trying to "help" adults drill a new well in the drought-ravaged village.

According to official sources, the child slipped into the 25-metre-deep hole before being pulled by a rope to a depth of about 10 metres, where he became trapped.

Rescuers opened a large slanting trench in the earth with excavators to access the area where he was trapped. But they had to proceed with caution as they approached the shaft and were then slowed down by the rocky terrain.