Blasts, rocket attack kill five Afghans

Kabul: At least five civilians including children were killed and two dozen others injured in separate attacks today, officials said, as non-combatants suffered a bloody weekend in Afghanistan.

A rocket hit a house early in the morning in a district of eastern Nangarhar province, killing two children, an interior ministry statement said.

The ministry blamed the attack on "enemies of the people of Afghanistan" -- a term often used to refer to Taliban insurgents waging a bloody war against Afghan and US-led NATO troops.

Separately, twin bomb blasts in Lashkar Gah, capital of southern Helmand province, killed three civilians and wounded more than a dozen, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

"The bomb, which was remotely detonated next to a Kabul Bank branch here, killed a 12-year-old girl and two adults, while wounding 15 other civilians," he said.

Minutes later, a second bomb exploded close to a high school and injured three more children, an adult and a policeman, Ahmadi said.

Ahmadi blamed the Taliban for both attacks.

Civilian casualties are an incendiary issue in Afghanistan and are often used by the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban alike for political ends, even though most deaths are caused by the insurgents.

Civilians were also said to have been killed yesterday by a NATO air strike on a Taliban target and a separate shootout between Afghan forces and rebels.