Afghan rickshaw blast kills thirteen passengers

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The Independent Online

A motorised rickshaw packed with civilian passengers struck a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan today, triggering a blast that killed all 13 people in the vehicle.

The blast happened in the Khoshamad district of eastern Paktika province, the interior ministry said in a statement, adding that women and children were among the dead.

Civilians are increasingly the victims of the escalating Afghan war, particular from planted bombs on roads and in markets. A recent United Nations report said it documented 2,412 conflict-related civilian casualties in the first 10 months of 2010. More than three-quarters were caused by militant activity, a 25% increase from the same period in 2009, the report said. At the same time, civilian casualties attributed to pro-government forces decreased.

In western Herat province last night, a rocket hit a civilian house during a fight between insurgents and Nato forces in the area, government spokesman Shafiq Berozyan said. One child was killed and another 10 people were wounded, he said.

These incidents came after two deadly roadside bombings this weekend.

On Saturday, six civilians were killed when their minibus hit a bomb in southern Helmand province. On Sunday, a station wagon carrying a family of nine people struck a bomb in northern Baghlan province, killing all of those aboard.