Afghan civilians killed by roadside bomb

Nine killed in eastern Laghman province just days after Taliban leader ordered his fighters not to harm civilians.

Security control in parts of Laghman has been transferred to Afghan forces as international troops withdraw [EPA]

Nine civilians have been killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, according to local officials.

The bomb went off in Laghman province early on Saturday morning, just days after a top Taliban leader ordered his fighters to avoid harming civilians.

“A roadside bomb hit a civilian car in Alingar district of Laghman province, killing six people including one woman,” Faizanullah Patan, a provincial spokesperson, said.

Located in the volatile eastern region close to the border with Pakistan, Laghman has been one of the provinces covered in recent clearance operations by Afghan and coalitions forces along the border.

Control of security in the provincial capital, Mehtar Lam, was handed from foreign to Afghan government forces in the first wave of transition in July, which covered seven areas across Afghanistan.

Also on Saturday, two policemen and two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb which targeted a police vehicle in Herat city, in western Afghanistan.

Civilian deaths

Transfer of security to Afghan forces is to take place in gradual stages in the lead-up to the 2014 withdrawal date announced for foreign troops.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is expected to announce the second round of transition, which will reportedly cover 17 provinces.

Afghan civilians have paid a high price in the decade-long war which began with the US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.

The Taliban government was accused of providing sanctuary to al-Qaeda.

The United Nations has said the number of civilians killed in the Afghan war in the first half of this year rose 15 per cent to 1,462, with Taliban responsible for 80 per cent of the deaths.

Last week, Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban leader, issued a statement calling on his fighters to reduce civilian casualties. Several attacks have occurred since his statement, however, claiming many civilian lives.

Source: News Agencies