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Roadside bomb and Taliban attack kill 14 in Afghanistan

AFP , Sunday 21 Dec 2014

A roadside bomb and a Taliban attack on a police post have killed 14 people including children in Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.

Seven civilians died when a bomb hit a pickup truck travelling from Asadabad, the capital of the eastern province of Kunar, to Nari district near the border with Pakistan on Saturday.

"Last evening a pickup truck, with women and children onboard, was blown up by a roadside bomb, that killed seven people including two little girls," Nari police chief Mohammad Yousuf told AFP.

He blamed the Taliban for the blast, which also left three women wounded.

Mohammad Rahman Danish, the district chief of Nari, confirmed the incident, part of worsening violence as US-led foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but roadside bombs are the Taliban's weapon of choice in their battle against Afghan and foreign forces. The bombs also increasingly kill and wound civilians.

A UN report released on Friday said 3,188 civilians had been killed and 6,429 injured as of the end of November.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report warned that civilian casualties were expected to exceed 10,000 by the end of the year, making it the deadliest year for non-combatants since the organisation began issuing its reports in 2009.

Compared to 2013, this year saw a 33 percent rise in casualties among children and a 12 percent increase among women.

The Taliban were accountable for 75 percent of all civilian casualties, the report said.

Casualties among Afghan troops and police have also soared as they rather than foreign troops bear the brunt of the fighting. More than 4,600 were killed in the first 10 months of this year.

In northern Afghanistan Saturday seven police were killed and about a dozen wounded when some 200 Taliban fighters attacked their post in the Qushtapa area of Jawzjan province, provincial police spokesman Ahmad Farid Azizi told AFP.

"We asked for air support from NATO, but they didn't come. After hours of fighting the police were finally overpowered and lost their lives," he said.

NATO's combat mission will end on December 31. A follow-up mission of about 12,500 US-led NATO troops will stay on to train and support Afghan security forces.


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