Asia

Afghanistan roadside blast 'kills 10' in Badghis

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At least 10 people have been killed in a roadside explosion in Afghanistan's north-western province of Badghis, officials and media say.

Most of the dead were civilians, but two police officers were also reported killed.

The attack took place in Qadis district late on Monday, the second day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Local officials blamed the Taliban but no-one has yet said they carried out the attack.

Badghis provincial council chairman Faizullah Azimi told Agence France-Presse news agency: "A mine planted by the Taliban hit a police vehicle in Qadis district [on Monday] evening leaving two policemen and eight civilians dead. All the civilians were members of the same family."

He said at least three other people were hurt.

Provincial Governor Dulbar Jan Arman said a number of the dead were women and children.

The blast apparently targeted a police vehicle.

Mosque blast

On Friday in a statement on a Taliban website, the group's leader, Mullah Omar, called on his fighters "to take every step to protect the lives and wealth of ordinary people".

Image caption A bomb in Old Baghlan City on Sunday killed seven

The statement warned of punishments under Islamic sharia law for fighters responsible for civilian deaths.

Interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqui told AFP: "Despite their statement the other day about protecting civilian lives, the Taliban once again proved that they do not care about the lives of men, women and children."

On the first day of Eid al-Adha, Sunday, a suicide bomber killed at least seven people near a mosque in northern Baghlan province.

The bomb went off as worshippers were leaving the mosque in Old Baghlan City after prayers.

The Nato-backed International Assistance Force (Isaf) is gradually handing over responsibility for security to the Afghans but about 140,000 foreign troops remain in the country.

The handover is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The United Nations says the first six months of 2011 were the deadliest for civilians across Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.