Afghan roadside bombing kills eight civilians

October 31, 2012


An Afghan policeman stands at the site of a roadside bomb attack. – File photo by AP
An Afghan policeman stands at the site of a roadside bomb attack. – File photo by AP

KABUL: Eight civilians, including seven women, were killed in an insurgent roadside bombing in the Musa Qala district of the southern Afghan province of Helmand on Wednesday, the Afghan interior ministry said.

Two people were wounded in the attack, the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement, holding the Taliban responsible for the attack.

“Eight of our civilian compatriots, seven women and a man, were killed today when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban terrorists,” the statement said.

Roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), are the deadliest insurgent weapon used in Afghanistan for both the military fighting the Taliban and civilians.

The crude devices, often built on old ammunition, are planted by the side of roads to target Nato and Afghan troops battling the Taliban insurgency aimed at bringing down Kabul's Western-backed government, but they also kill civilians travelling on the same roads.

The United Nations (UN) said that 1,145 civilians were killed in the Afghan war in the first six months of this year, blaming 80 per cent of the deaths on insurgents, with more than half caused by roadside bombs.

Last year, a record 3,021 civilians died in the war, the UN has said, and this year around 30 percent of casualties have been women and children. Most of them were victims of roadside bombs.

The UN blames insurgents for 80 percent of the civilian casualties in 2012, saying pro-government forces, which include US-led Nato, were responsible for 10 percent.

On Oct 19, a bomb ripped through a minibus carrying guests to a wedding in the northern province of Balkh, killing 19 people.

A day after the Balkh blast, the UN urged the Taliban leadership to enforce their ban on IEDs, announced by the militants' leader Mullah Omar in 1998.

IEDs are responsible for a large percentage of deaths among the Nato forces helping fight the Taliban. Foreign combat troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014 and there are fears that the Taliban will extend their activities across wider swathes of the country against ill-prepared Afghan forces.

On Friday, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform killed 42 people, including five children, and wounded 50 more at a mosque in northern Faryab province after Eid prayers on the festival of Eidul Azha.

It was the worst death toll in a single attack in Afghanistan since 80 died on Dec 6 last year in a suicide blast at a shrine in Kabul on the Ashura.