Afghanistan: 15 civilians killed in roadside bombing
Kabul: At least 15 Afghan civilians were killed and 18 others wounded Friday morning in a roadside bombing in northern Balkh province, a provincial police spokesman said.
"A minibus with about 33 civilians aboard was heading to take part in a wedding party in Sadir Abad village of Dawlat Abad district at bout 10 am (local time) Friday but the vehicle touched off a roadside bomb sparking a powerful blast, killing 15 people and wounding 18 others," spokesman Shirjan Duran told Xinhua.
Several women and children were among the killed and wounded, he added.
Taliban militants, who have been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, have often attacked Afghan and about 100,000 NATO- led forces with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or roadside bombs but the lethal weapons also inflict casualties on civilians.
In addition, an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander was killed by a Taliban IED attack in southern Kandahar province Thursday, an official said.
"The ALP commander named Mirza Khan was killed Thursday evening when an IED went off along a road in southwestern part of Zharai district near provincial capital Kandahar city," administrative district chief Nyaz Mohammad Sarhadi told Xinhua, blaming Taliban for the attack in the province 450 south of Kabul.
The NATO and US-funded ALP or community police was established in August 2010 to protect villages and districts around the insurgency-hit country where Afghan army and police have limited presence.
A total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,954 injured in conflicts in the first six months of 2012 in insurgency-hit country, according to a UN report released in Kabul on Aug. 8.
The IED explosions and the suicide bombings were alone accounted for more than 50 percent of all civilians' deaths, according to the report.
It attributed 80 percent of the civilian deaths to attacks by Taliban insurgents and other armed groups opposing the Afghan government, another 10 percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces and 10 percent were unattributed in the first six months this year.