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AFP
July 16, 2019

Taliban bomb kills 11 Afghans in Kandahar

National

AFP
July 16, 2019

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: At least 11 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded Monday after their vehicle hit a bomb in southern Afghanistan that officials told AFP had been planted by the Taliban.

The deaths come just one week after Taliban and Afghan officials unveiled a "roadmap for peace" in which they pledged to eliminate civilian casualties. Monday´s incident occurred around 2:00 pm when a vehicle carrying many passengers hit a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban, provincial police chief Tadin Khan said.

It was not immediately clear if the victims had been travelling in a bus or in the back of a large truck. "In the blast, 11 people were martyred and 34 others were wounded. Women and children are among the victims," Khan said.

Afghan military spokesman Ahmad Sadiq Esa confirmed the toll, while Kandahar governor Hayatullah Hayat said 13 were killed. No group claimed immediate responsibility. The Taliban did not immediately comment.

Kandahar is considered the birthplace of the Taliban, who still control some parts of the province. Insurgents often use roadside bombs and landmines to target Afghan security forces -- but the lethal weapons also inflict heavy casualties on civilians. Years of conflict have left Afghanistan strewn with landmines, unexploded mortars, rockets and homemade bombs -- and many are picked up by curious children.

According to the United Nations, almost 4,000 civilians -- including more than 900 children -- were killed in Afghanistan last year, with another 7,000 wounded, making it the deadliest year to date for civilians in Afghanistan´s conflict. The Taliban and a group of Afghans met for a historic summit in the Qatari capital Doha last week, as part of US-led peace talks, where they pledged to reduce civilian casualties to "zero".