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11 December 2023

13 Afghans die in latest roadside bomb


A total of 13 civilians including children and women were killed Wednesday by a Taliban-style roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

The blast hit a three-wheeled vehicle and killed "13 of our innocent civilian compatriots, including women, children and elderly men," the interior ministry in Kabul said in a statement.

It blamed the attack on "enemies of Afghanistan's people", a phrase often used by officials to refer to the Taliban, while President Hamid Karzai called the blast "inhumane and un-Islamic," in a statement released by his office.

Twenty-eight Afghan civilians have now been killed in three roadside bombings in the last four days.

International troops based in Afghanistan are due to start a limited, conditions-based withdrawal from July. Afghan forces are scheduled to take over responsibility for security in 2014.

The latest attack happened in Khoshamand district of Paktika province, which borders Pakistan and where militants have hideouts in the lawless border regions.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or home-made bombs are the weapon of choice for insurgents and are a frequent cause of death for civilians as well as foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials say that last year 2,043 civilians died as a result of Taliban attacks and military operations targeting the militants.

The latest incident comes three days after nine civilians -- six women, two men and a child -- died in a roadside bombing in northern Afghanistan as they travelled to a wedding on a road often used by foreign forces.

A day earlier another roadside bomb killed six people travelling in a minibus in the Sangin district of Helmand province in the troubled south.

There are around 140,000 international troops fighting a Taliban insurgency that is now in its 10th year.

The US-led coalition suffered its highest annual death toll last year with 711 fatalities, according to the iCasualties.org website.

A year after sending 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in a surge strategy designed to overcome the Taliban, US President Barack Obama said last month that the war was on track but gains were fragile and reversible.

In other unrest across Afghanistan, officials said that 12 Afghan militants were killed when the bombs they were making exploded in the northwest on Tuesday.

Six other people were also injured in the explosion in Faryab province, which borders Turkmenistan.

Also on Tuesday, 13 militants died in fighting between two factions in southern Zabul province.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber was shot by police before detonating his explosives-laden vest Wednesday as he crossed from Pakistan at the border town of Spin Boldak in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

No one else was injured in the incident. A suicide bomber killed 17 people including a police commander at a public bath in Spin Boldak earlier this month in Afghanistan's deadliest blast since October last year.