KABUL, (AFP) — A huge roadside bomb ripped through a minibus carrying guests to a wedding party in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 18 others, police said.
Most of the victims were women and children in the attack that took place in the northern province of Balkh, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif.
“All the victims were civilians and mostly they were women and children,” the police spokesman for Balkh, Shir Jan Durrani, told AFP.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but similar attacks are usually blamed on Taliban insurgents fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
Afghan weddings are often lavish affairs, drawing hundreds of relatives and guests from far afield in the war-torn land.
The United Nations says 1,145 civilians were killed in the war in the first six months of this year, blaming 80 percent of the deaths on insurgents, with more than half caused by roadside bombs.
The bombs, or improvised explosive devices, are also responsible for a large percentage of the deaths among the US-led NATO force of some 100,000 who are helping fight the Taliban.