15 Afghans heading for wedding killed in bomb blast

15 Afghans heading for wedding killed in bomb blast

At least 15 Afghan civilians were killed and 18 wounded Friday while going to a wedding party when their vehicle was blown up in a roadside bombing in northern Balkh province, police said.

"A minibus with about 33 civilians aboard was heading to take part in a wedding party in Sadir Abad village of Dawlat Abad district at about 10 a.m. Friday but the vehicle touched off a roadside bomb, sparking a powerful blast, killing 15 people and wounding 18," provincial police spokesman Shirjan Duran told Xinhua.

Many women and children were among the killed and wounded, he added.

Taliban militants, who have been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, have often attacked NATO-led forces with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or roadside bombs but the lethal weapons also inflict casualties on civilians.

A total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,954 injured in conflicts in the first six months of 2012 in the insurgency-hit country, according to a UN report released in Kabul Aug 8.

The IED explosions and the suicide bombings alone accounted for more than 50 percent of all civilian deaths, according to the report.

It attributed 80 percent of the civilian deaths to attacks by Taliban insurgents and other armed groups opposing the Afghan government, another 10 percent of the deaths to Afghan and NATO-led forces, and 10 percent were unattributed in the first six months this year.

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