KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – A roadside bomb tore through a vehicle in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing 11 civilians, including five children, a border police official said. A British solider died in another explosion.
The bomb exploded in Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district as the civilians were traveling toward a shrine, said Gen. Saifullah Hakim.
Hakim blamed Taliban militants, who regularly use roadside bombs against Afghan and foreign troops.
“Innocent civilians are dying as a result,” Hakim said. He also said three women were wounded. The number of such attacks has spiked this year, as thousands of additional American troops have joined the fighting in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama has ordered 21,000 additional troops into the country this year, most of them into the south.
The British soldier was killed during a foot patrol near Gereshk in Helmand province on Thursday, the Ministry of Defense said Friday.
A total of 185 British personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, including 16 this month. The rising death toll comes during an offensive to drive Taliban insurgents out of positions in Helmand before Afghan elections next month.