The Associated Press, September 28, 2009
12 Afghans die in insurgent ambush
A total of 1,500 civilians died in Afghanistan from January through August, up from 1,145 for the same period of 2008, the U.N. report said
A Taliban ambush on a highway left six truckers dead, and a roadside bomb killed another six Afghans in a crowded van, the government said Monday — the latest sign that insurgent violence is spreading across the countryside.
Afghanistan's civilian death toll has risen alongside that of U.S. and international forces this summer to more than 1,500 this year — three-quarters of them at the hands of militants, according to a recent U.N. report. As the Taliban grip extends across ever greater territory, vast stretches of highway and road are falling into their hands.
On Sunday, Taliban militants ambushed a group of truck drivers in eastern Kunar province, killing six of the drivers and burning their vehicles, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. A seventh truck driver was kidnapped.
Also Sunday, a private van hit a roadside bomb in northern Faryab province, the ministry said in a separate statement. Six of those inside were killed and another seven injured, the statement said.
The planted bombs have become a major cause of deaths and injuries for both international troops and Afghan civilians. Some are remotely detonated, but many are simply placed on roads and triggered by a vehicle riding over the explosive.
The U.N. report issued Saturday said August was the deadliest month of the year for civilians as the Taliban stepped up a campaign of violence to discourage voting in the Aug. 20 election. A total of 1,500 civilians died in Afghanistan from January through August, up from 1,145 for the same period of 2008, the U.N. report said.
The U.N. report said about three-quarters of the civilian deaths recorded this year were the work of militants. Coalition forces were responsible for the remaining deaths, most the result of airstrikes.
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