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World News

Roadside bomb kills 12 Afghan civilians, official says

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A roadside bomb struck a passenger bus outside Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar on Tuesday, killing 12 civilians including women and children, a provincial official said.

Homemade bombs have become by far the deadliest weapon used by insurgents fighting Western and Afghan government forces, and civilians are frequently killed in the blasts.

“Twelve people, among them women and children, have been killed and 15 more civilians were wounded,” provincial government spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said of the blast.

It happened on a highway where a similar blast killed three civilians a day earlier, he added.

Ayoubi blamed the insurgent Taliban for planting the devices.

Reuters could not immediately reach the Taliban for comment, but the militants usually distance themselves from blasts when civilians are the victims.

Ousted from power in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the resurgent Taliban largely rely on roadside bombs and suicide attacks in their campaign against the foreign and Afghan forces.

More than 1,500 civilians have been killed by violence in Afghanistan so far this year, the United Nations said last week.

It said 68 percent of the civilian killings were a result of militant attacks, while 23 percent were caused by Afghan and foreign troops led by NATO and the U.S. military.

Reporting by Ismail Sameem; Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Peter Graff and Jerry Norton

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