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AFP, November 12, 2011

Roadside bomb kills eight Afghan civilians

"They had a wedding party last night and were going to their home" when the blast struck in the district of Alingar at around 10am (0530 GMT)"

By Naimatullah Karyab

Eight civilians including a newly-wed groom were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Saturday, the latest innocent victims to die despite a Taliban call to limit their deaths.

The victims, who also included a woman and a child, were killed in the eastern province of Laghman when their car was blown up as they returned home after the man's wedding party late Friday.

Laghman province is located towards the border with Pakistan and has long been troubled by insurgents, particularly the Hezb-e-Islami faction led by former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

"The latest reports show that eight people including a woman, a child and a groom were killed in the blast," said Laghman provincial spokesman Faizanullah Patan.

"They had a wedding party last night and were going to their home" when the blast struck in the district of Alingar at around 10am (0530 GMT), he added.

The woman killed in the blast was not thought to have been the bride.

An Afghan man receives treatment at a hospital after an explosion in Herat province November 12, 2011
An Afghan man receives treatment at a hospital after an explosion in Herat province November 12, 2011. At least five civilians were wounded when explosives attached to a bicycle went off in western city of Herat on Saturday, according to police officials. (Photo: Mohammad Shoib / Reuters)

Afghan civilians have paid a high price in the decade-long war in their country.

The United Nations has said the number of civilians killed in the first half of this year rose 15 percent to 1,462, with insurgents responsible for 80 percent of the deaths.

Last week, Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar issued a statement to mark Eid al-Adha calling on insurgents to reduce civilian casualties.

However, human rights group Amnesty International condemned the call as "hypocritical", saying it was "more about propaganda and less about actually protecting civilians".

Control of security in Laghman's provincial capital, Mehtar Lam, was handed from foreign to Afghan government forces in the first wave of transition in July.

The transition of security is due to take place gradually across the country and should eventually see all foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, although a sizeable mission will remain to train Afghan forces.

Another district in Laghman, Qarghayi, is expected to be among the second wave of transition locations.

President Hamid Karzai had been expected formally to announce these at a regional conference in Istanbul this month, but did not.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan Saturday, four policemen and two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb which targeted a police vehicle in Herat city, western Afghanistan, local civil order police commander Essa Iftikhari said.

Herat city was also part of the first wave of transition in July.

And 13 people including four children and a woman were killed when a bus crashed in southern Afghanistan on a road between Herat and Kandahar, said the spokesman for the governor of Helmand province, Daud Ahmadi.

There are around 140,000 international troops, mainly from the United States, in Afghanistan helping government forces combat a Taliban-led insurgency.

The Taliban were ousted from power by a US-led invasion in 2001 following the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, HR Violations - Views: 4843