KABUL - Afghanistan banned the sale of imitation Kalashnikovs and other toy guns Tuesday after they caused injuries to more than 100 people during Eid celebrations, as it seeks to curb a culture of violence. Children toting toy guns that fire rubber or plastic pellets are a common sight in the country during Eid al-Fitr, with sales surging every year amid festivities marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

More than 100 children and teenagers suffered eye injuries during three days of celebrations that ended on Sunday, the interior ministry said citing health officials. ‘Interior Minister Noor-ul Haq Uloomi has ordered police forces to confiscate all toy guns... which can lead to physical and psychological damage among people,’ a ministry statement said.

The government wants to reduce the influence of such toys on impressionable young minds, with many around Afghanistan drawing a connection between juvenile war games and adult violence.

'Eidi', the pocket money elders traditionally give to children during Eid, are widely splurged on toys such as imitation AK 47s, fake revolver pistols and plastic rifles.

The ban, which if rigorously enforced would impact the booming toy business in the country, was widely welcomed on social media, with some calling for extending the crackdown to include sales of real weapons in the war-torn country. ‘This is a positive step that will stop children from taking up real arms when they grow up,’ Abdul Shaheed wrote on Facebook. ‘Militancy and war has promoted a brutal culture of violence in our society that is impacting children.’

In the meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani urged coalition forces to take ‘maximum precautions’ to prevent bad incidents in the future. Following the attack, an Afghan army convoy dispatched to the site was ambushed several times on its way by Taliban militants, but they managed to retrieve the dead bodies without any further casualties, Amin said.

US-led NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle the Taliban alone, but a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

Despite the drawdown, coalition forces carried out 106 military air strikes in June, a sharp jump compared to the previous month when it carried out 41 strikes.

But that figure is still significantly lower than previous years. Last year they carried out 2,363 air strikes compared to a total of 305 raids in the first six months of this year, according to coalition military statistics. Monday's incident comes as Taliban insurgents step up attacks on government and foreign targets during their summer offensive despite official efforts to jumpstart peace talks.

Afghan officials sat down with Taliban cadres this month in Murree, a tourist town in the hills north of Islamabad, Pakistan, for their first face-to-face talks aimed at ending the bloody insurgency. They agreed to meet again in the coming weeks, drawing praise from Islamabad, Beijing, Washington and the United Nations. While ‘friendly fire’ incidents involving foreign coalition forces are a deeply contentious issue in Afghanistan, UN statistics show that the Taliban are responsible for most deaths.

Civilians often fall victim to insurgent attacks, with almost 1,000 Afghan civilians killed during the first four months of the year, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan. Ghani's government has drawn criticism for failing to end growing insurgent attacks, which critics partly blame on the protracted delay in the appointment of a defence minister.