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Bombs kill 14 civilians in southern Afghanistan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Pakistani paramilitary soldier checks documents of car drivers as they cross into Afghanistan, at the Pakistan-Afghan border, in Pakistani town of Chaman on 13 August 2009 (EPA)

Pakistani paramilitary soldier checks documents of car drivers as they cross into Afghanistan, at the Pakistan-Afghan border, in Pakistani town of Chaman on 13 August 2009 (EPA)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – Two separate roadside blasts in southern Afghanistan killed 14 civilians, including three children, underscoring the high price paid by ordinary people in the conflict with the Taliban, officials said Thursday.

Officials blamed the blasts on Taliban militants, who have made roadside bombings their primary weapons.

According to figures from the U.S.-based Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, the number of incidents from IEDs soared to 828 last month, the highest level of the war and more than twice as many as in July 2008. The majority of the victims in such attacks have been civilians.

A blast on a road in the Gereshk district of Helmand province ripped through a vehicle carrying a family on Wednesday, killing 11 people, including two women and nine men, said Daud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

A 6-year-old girl survived the bombing, Ahmadi said. “The Taliban are planting these bombs on the main roads, which are killing our civilians,” Ahmadi said.

In the neighboring Kandahar province, three children were killed after they started playing with another bomb, which they had found on side of the road west of the provincial capital, police official Mohammad Shah Khan said.

The victims were between 8 and 12-years-old, he said. Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban-led insurgency, where thousands of additional U.S. troops were deployed this year to try and reverse the militant’s gains and create conditions for next weeks presidential elections.

An Afghan man looks at the election posters pasted on a wall in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2009 (AP)

An Afghan man looks at the election posters pasted on a wall in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2009 (AP)

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, who is seeking a second term in the country's upcoming presidential election, speaks during an election rally in Kabul, August 13, 2009 (REUTERS)

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, who is seeking a second term in the country’s upcoming presidential election, speaks during an election rally in Kabul, August 13, 2009 (REUTERS)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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