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Roadside blast kills eight civilians: Afghan police

world Updated: May 03, 2010 11:58 IST

AFP
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Eight civilians, two of them children, were killed and 14 more wounded when a roadside bomb struck a minivan in eastern Afghanistan, police and a doctor said on Monday.

The victims were among a group of people travelling in Paktia province late Sunday when the bomb exploded, deputy provincial police chief Ghulam Dastagir Rustamyar told AFP.

"Yesterday evening along the road to Zurmat a civilian minivan struck a roadside bomb, as a result of which eight civilians were killed," he said.

Doctor Mohammad Nader said the bodies of four men, two women and two children had been brought to the main hospital in Paktia. Another eight wounded were also admitted, he said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

But roadside bombs, often made from a mixture of fertiliser, fuel and metal, have become the weapon of choice for Taliban-led militants and cause increasing numbers of casualties among civilians as well as foreign and Afghan forces.

NATO and the United States have 126,000 troops fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan, with the number set to peak at 150,000 by August as they try to fast-track efforts to end a conflict that is now in its ninth year.

But civilian casualties have undermined efforts to win Afghan hearts and minds as part of a sweeping new counter-insurgency strategy coordinated by General Stanley McChrystal, who heads NATO and US troops in Afghanistan.