Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Taliban attacks leave 17 civilians dead in Afghanistan

AFP, HERAT, Afghanistan

At least 17 civilians have been killed in multiple Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, officials said yesterday, underscoring increasing insecurity for ordinary people as foreign forces complete their withdrawal next year.

An insurgent attack on a road construction workers’ camp in Karukh District in the western province of Herat left nine workers dead overnight.

“The Taliban attacked their camp along the Herat-Badghis road while they were asleep last,” provincial police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told reporters.

The workers were employed by a government-owned road construction company, he said.

A provincial government spokesman confirmed the deaths, blaming “enemies of Afghanistan,” a term used to refer to the Taliban.

A roadside bomb also killed five civilians, including women and children, and wounded three others in Helmand Province yesterday morning.

“A van hit a roadside bomb in the Marjah District of Helmand killing five civilians and wounding three,” Omar Zwak, the Helmand governor’s spokesman, told reporters.

They were on their way to Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, for shopping, he said.

Also in Helmand, an improvised explosive device killed three women in Musa Qala District on Friday, a police spokesman said.

Improvised explosive devices are the Taliban’s weapon of choice in their battle against the US-backed government and foreign forces, but they often kill and wound civilians.

According to recent UN report, civilian casualties in the Afghan war rose 23 percent in the first half of this year due to Taliban attacks and increased fighting between insurgents and government forces.

The increase reversed a decline last year and raised questions about how Afghan troops can protect civilians as US-led NATO soldiers withdraw from the 12-year war.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said 1,319 civilians died and 2,533 were injured as a result of the war from Jan. 1 to June 30, up 23 percent on the same period last year.

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