Homemade bomb kills 13 civilians in Afghan south

KABUL Sat Jul 2, 2011 4:37am EDT

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KABUL (Reuters) - A roadside bomb exploded under a civilian van in southern Afghanistan on Saturday morning, killing 13 people, including four women and two children, the Interior Ministry said.

The attack in Shamalzai district of Zabul province comes two days after another roadside bomb killed 13 civilians and wounded 33 in southwestern Nimroz province.

The Interior Ministry said Saturday's bomb was planted by the "enemies of peace and stability" in Afghanistan, a reference to the Taliban-led insurgents fighting the Afghan government and its Western backers.

Violence has flared in Afghanistan since the Taliban insurgents began their spring offensive at the start of May, after record deaths in 2010.

Foreign military casualties were slightly lower in the first six months of 2011 than the same period of 2010, but the United Nations said May 2011 was the deadliest month for civilians since it started keeping records four years ago.

There were 368 "conflict related" civilian deaths in May this year and 593 civilian injuries, the United Nations said, with insurgents and their supporters responsible for around 80 percent of those killings.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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