April 10, 2015 / 11:04 AM / 4 years ago

Suicide bombs, roadside blast kill 15 Afghan civilians

KABUL (Reuters) - Suicide car bombers struck foreign vehicles in eastern Afghanistan and Kabul on Friday, killing three Afghans and wounding others, and a roadside blast killed a dozen people on their way to a wedding, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks on foreign convoys in Kabul and Jalalabad, near the Pakistan border. The background to the wedding party attack in Ghazni province, south of Kabul, was not immediately clear.

Afghanistan’s war with Taliban insurgents is grinding on after international troops ended their combat role last year, and civilians continue to make up the bulk of casualties.

The first attack of the day struck near Jalalabad, hitting a convoy of foreign troops who are part of a residual training mission for Afghan forces.

“The suicide bomber struck just outside Jalalabad airport as the foreign troops were passing,” said Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, chief of police for Nangarhar province. Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar, which saw a series of militants attacks last year.

The international troops in the convoy suffered minor injuries, a spokesman for the force said.

In Kabul, later on Friday, another suicide bomber drove into a vehicle used by foreigners in the city’s east, injuring at least three Afghans in the vicinity of the blast, police said.

“It happened when two vehicles were passing through the area,” Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said.

It was unclear whether the vehicle was owned by the military or another foreign entity. The condition of the occupants was unknown, but the driver was able to drive the vehicle away from the scene of the blast, according to a Western security source.

Elsewhere on Friday, a roadside bomb blew up a car full of people traveling to a wedding in Ghazni province and 12 people were killed, an official said.

About half of the dead were women and children, said Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the provincial deputy governor.

A member of Afghan security personnel stands at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The Taliban, whose hard-line Islamist regime was ousted in a 2001 U.S.-led intervention, say they try to limit civilian casualties in their fight to topple Afghanistan’s pro-Western government.

However, the United Nations says the insurgents and their allies are responsible for three-quarters of civilian casualties, which reached a new high of 10,000 killed and wounded last year.

The United Nations said nearly 3,700 civilians were killed and more than 6,800 were wounded last year as fighting intensified ahead of the withdrawal of thousands of foreign combat troops.

Reporting by Rafiq Sherzad, Additional reporting and writing by Hamid Shalizi and Jessica Donati; Editing by Kay Johnson and Tom Heneghan

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