Bomb attacks killed 25 people in Afghanistan today, ripping through a minibus packed with civilians and targeting a US-run base in the east bordering Pakistan, officials said.
The attacks in opposite ends of the country underscored how pernicious Taliban-led insurgents have become in fighting to bring down the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai and evict 140,000 US-led foreign troops.
Women and children were among the casualties when a roadside bomb tore through the minibus in the western province of Herat, killing 22 civilians, the provincial government said.
The bus was travelling between the district of Obe and the provincial capital Herat city, local administration spokesman, Moheyddin Noori, told AFP.
In a second explosion in the same district, one woman was killed and seven men were wounded when their truck hit another improvised bomb, Noori said.
The local government spokesman blamed the bombing on “the armed opposition groups” – a reference to Taliban-led insurgents, who have been fighting to win back power since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted them from government in Kabul.
Improvised bombs, built with old ammunition, have been the weapon of choice for the Taliban and other insurgents for nearly 10 years.
But the poorly-made devices often kill civilians travelling on Afghan dirt roads between their villages and big cities.
Military officials say the makeshift bombs, also known as IEDs (improvised-explosive devices) are the main killer of troops in the US-led NATO force deployed in Afghanistan and local Afghan security forces.
The base houses small groups of troops and civilian experts who are trying to help rebuild the war-torn country and enhance security. The groups are known as Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) and are assigned across Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed contacted AFP from an undisclosed location by telephone, saying that dozens of US and Afghan troops were killed and wounded.