A Taliban roadside bomb on Wednesday killed at least 35 people travelling in a bus in western Afghanistan, mostly women and children, Afghan authorities said.
“The bomb was freshly planted by the Taliban insurgents to target Afghan and foreign security forces,” said provincial police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib.
Insurgents, such as the Taliban militant group, regularly target pro-government forces but civilians often take the brunt of attacks.
According to Reuters, “security has been deteriorating across Afghanistan, with the Taliban and Islamic State fighters mounting near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, government employees and civilians.”
What we know so far:
- Government officials warned that the death toll could rise.
- A majority of the victims were women and children.
- Emergency services were deployed to assist survivors.
- No group has claimed responsibility.
‘Shocking’ civilian deaths
The attack comes just a day after the UN condemned the “shocking” number of civilians killed in the Afghan war this year.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the US and other pro-government forces have killed more civilians during the first half of 2019 than militant groups.
“We urge all parties to heed this imperative, to answer the call of Afghans for immediate steps to be taken to reduce the terrible harm being inflicted (on civilians),” said UNAMA head Tadamichi Yamamoto.
Reuters reported that according to the United Nations Mine Action Service, more than 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war last year.
UNAMA noted that 20 percent of all civilian deaths during the first half of 2019 were caused by improvised explosive devices.