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Roadside bomb kills 18 civilians in Afghanistan

KABUL — A roadside bomb killed 18 civilians Sunday, mostly women and children, after it struck a small bus coming from a wedding in a lawless district of eastern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, police said.

Deputy provincial police chief Colonel Asadullah Ensafi said the blast occurred in the Andar district as the bus traveled from one village to another just before dusk.

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He said the dead include 14 women, three men, and a child. Ensafi said the blast wounded five women and two were in critical condition.

Ensafi said he had no other details, as the remote area was not easily accessible to security forces.

Andar is one of the few districts in Ghazni where the Taliban retain some measure of control and often attack security forces, mostly by laying bombs along roads.

Roadside bombs are the Taliban’s weapon of choice and are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties.

In a statement Sunday night, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force condemned the attack, saying it would ‘‘fight against extremists whose senseless acts endanger innocent women and children.’’

The United Nations said in the first six months of this year, 1,319 civilians were killed and 2,533 were wounded in the ongoing 12-year Afghan conflict, the majority of them by roadside bombs.

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