KANDAHAR: A roadside bomb killed 10 civilians, including a woman and five children, and wounded eight when it ripped through a van in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials said.
The families were on their way to visit a relative who had recently returned from Mecca when their vehicle was hit in Dih Rawud district in rural Uruzgan province, district governor Nematullah Khaliqi told AFP.
“Four of the dead are men, one is a woman and the rest are children. Eight others, men, women and children, are wounded,” he said.
The death toll was confirmed by Abdullah Hemat, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
Roadside bombs are the weapon of choice of hardline Islamist Taliban militants fighting Afghan forces and some 100,000 Nato troops in an effort to topple the government of President Hamid Karzai.
While the Taliban say their targets are military, civilians using the same roads are frequently the victims.
Earlier this month a roadside bomb killed 17 civilians – mostly women and children – on their way to a wedding party in western Afghanistan.
Afghan weddings are often lavish affairs, drawing hundreds of relatives and guests from far afield in the war-torn land, and the blast took the total toll among wedding guests on the roads to 46 in less than a month.
In the first six months of 2012, a total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and around 2,000 were wounded, mostly by roadside bombs, according to United Nations figures.
Women and children accounted for about 30 per cent of the casualties.