Injured Afghan villagers lie on beds in a hospital ward in Farah province… (Stringer / Agence France-Presse…)
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A minivan crammed with Afghan civilians on their way to a wedding party in western Afghanistan struck a roadside bomb Friday, killing 17 people, including nine women and at least one child.
Gen. Aqqa Noor Kemtooz, chief of police for Farah province, accused Taliban insurgents of planting the explosives. Bombs intended for NATO and Afghan troops are often triggered by passing motorists or pedestrians.
A United Nations report on civilian casualties, issued in August, estimated that insurgents were responsible for 80% of civilian deaths in the first half of this year.
Friday’s explosion destroyed the minivan, which was carrying 31 people. "Half of them were inside and half were on the roof," Kemtooz said.
The remains of some victims were so badly mutilated that police could not determine their gender, he added.
[Updated 10:28 a.m. Nov. 16: The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also blamed the explosion on the Taliban. According to the force's statistics, insurgents were responsible for more than 2,800 civilian deaths this year, most of them from roadside bombs.]
Also Friday, the ISAF announced that two coalition soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan. Under the force's policy, the soldiers' nationalities were not released pending notification of next of kin. Details of the incident were not provided.
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