Roadside bombs in southern Afghanistan kill 17 civilians

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- At least seventeen people were killed Wednesday when insurgents carried out three separate bomb attacks in the violence-plagued southern region of Afghanistan, local authorities said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The first attack happened at approximately 9 a.m. local time when a roadside bomb struck a vehicle in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, killing seven young women and three children. Hours later, a second device exploded, killing a man and injuring his wife and their three children.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) blamed Taliban insurgents. "This dishonorable tactic being used by the Taliban only destroys Afghanistan and prevents a peaceful way of life for its citizens," said ISAF spokesman Lt. Col. Stewart Upton.

Later on Wednesday, six more civilians were killed when a roadside bomb struck a minivan in the Maruf district of neighboring Kandahar province. Among those killed were several women and children, but it was not immediately known which group had planted the explosive device.

Upton said the alliance and Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) are doing all they can to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which also claim the majority of foreign troops. "The population can take part in security by reporting IEDs and those that plant them to their local security forces," he said. "Together, we can stop Taliban assassins from planting bombs that kill and maim innocent civilians."

According to a report from the United Nations (UN), at least 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed in the war in the first six months of this year. Approximately 80 percent of the casualties were blamed on insurgents, with more than half of those caused by roadside bombs. A record 3,021 civilians died in 2011.

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