South Asia

Afghanistan: Bomb kills nine wedding guests in Baghlan


At least nine Afghans have been killed by a roadside bomb in the northern province of Baghlan, officials say.

Police said all were wedding guests and their car was destroyed in the blast.

The news came as officials said six civilians were killed in a roadside blast in the south on Saturday.

Thousands of civilians have been killed in fighting between Taliban and Nato-led forces in recent years. Violence is at levels not seen since the militants were driven from power in 2001.

The Taliban and other militants routinely use roadside bombings against Nato and Afghan forces. Civilians are often killed.

Police in Baghlan said the wedding guests had been travelling from Pul-e-Khumri, the provincial capital, to a village in the same province when their car hit the bomb.

"Nine civilians - six women, a child and two men - have been killed," provincial governor Abdul Majeed said. "All the casualties are civilians."

He said the road was frequently used by foreign forces.

Baghlan used to be among a number of relatively peaceful northern provinces which have become steadily more violent in recent months as the insurgency has spread.

Sangin attack

In Saturday's attack in Helmand province, a minibus hit a bomb on a dirt road in Sangin district - six people were killed and three injured.

A police vehicle is believed to have been the intended target.

Sangin is one of the main battlefields in the fight between Nato-led forces and Taliban insurgents in the strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar.

Fourteen civilians, including women and children, were killed when their minibus hit a roadside bomb in Helmand in December.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says roads are increasingly in the frontline of the war in Afghanistan.

Civilian and military casualties are at levels not seen for a decade - last year more than 2,400 civilians died, with roadside bombs the biggest source of casualties, our correspondent says.