Roadside Bomb Kills 13 Civilians in Afghanistan

By Staff | January 19, 2011 | 5:35 AM EST

(AP) - A motorized rickshaw packed with civilian passengers struck a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, triggering a blast that killed all 13 people in the vehicle.

The blast happened in Khoshamad district of eastern Paktika province, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that women and children were among the dead. Further details were not immediately available.

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 of them were caused by militant activity, a 25 percent 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 Tuesday night, a rocket hit a civilian house during a firefight 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 minivan hit a bomb while driving 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.