21 people killed by roadside bomb: Afghan official

The minibus ran over a roadside bomb in Obe district in Herat province.

Kabul: A roadside bomb killed at least 21 passengers travelling on a minibus on Thursday in western Afghanistan, another example of civilians being caught in the crossfire of fighting between Taliban insurgents and the US-led coalition.

In the country`s east, a suicide car bomber attacked a coalition base on Thursday, killing two Afghan security guards, officials said, and the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The minibus ran over a roadside bomb in Obe district in Herat province, setting off a blast that killed 21 passengers, said Gen Zaiuddin Mamoodi, an Afghan National Police commander for four provinces of western Afghanistan.

Twelve of the victims were children under the age of 5, three were women and six were men, he said. Eleven others were wounded, he said.

"It was a big, powerful blast. The bodies are not easily recognisable," said Abdul Bashir, an elder of a village in the district.

Mohyuddin Noori, a spokesman for the province`s governor, said the bus was on its way to a bazaar where the passengers were going to shop.

Noori also said that a small truck hit another roadside bomb Thursday morning in the same district, seriously wounding at least four civilians.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the US-led coalition condemned the bombings.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing at a provincial reconstruction team base that Americans operate near Gardez, the capital of Paktia province.

Bureau Report

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