Six die in Afghanistan minibus blast

A roadside bomb ripped through a minibus in southern Afghanistan, killing six civilians and wounding another three, a local official told AFP on Sunday.

The incident took place Saturday in the Sangin district of Helmand province, one of the areas which sees the deadliest violence in the nine-year insurgency, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

He said the dead were all relatives of a local tribal chief, Haji Zainullah.

"Six civilians were martyred and another three were wounded," Ahmadi said, blaming the attack on "enemies of peace and stability", a term often used by the Afghan government to refer to Taliban militants.

Afghanistan's interior ministry says that last year, 2,043 civilians died as a result of Taliban attacks and military operations targeting the militants.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or home-made bombs are a frequent cause of death for civilians in Afghanistan.

There are around 140,000 international troops in the country fighting the Taliban insurgents who were ousted from power in a 2001 US-led invasion.

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