Asia

Afghan conflict: 15 killed in 'Taliban attack' on buses

  • 25 July 2014
  • From the section Asia
Afghan security official standing guard during the recent election campaign in Ghor Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ghor province has been relatively stable and loyal to the government

Suspected Taliban gunmen have killed 15 people who were travelling by road in the central Afghan province of Ghor.

The attackers stopped two minibuses overnight, ordered the passengers out and shot them dead, according to the province's police chief.

The victims - including three women and a child - were from the minority Hazara community, which has been targeted by the Taliban in the past.

Growing numbers of civilians have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

According to the UN, nearly 5,000 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2014 - a rise of almost a quarter on the same period in 2013.

Abdul Hai Khatibi, a spokesman for the governor of Ghor province, told the AFP news agency that the attackers had "ordered all passengers to stand in one line, and then they shot them dead one by one".

The spokesman is quoted as saying that one man managed to flee the attack. A newly married couple were among the dead.

Ghor province has been relatively stable and loyal to the government, says the BBC's David Loyn in Kabul.

He says people across Afghanistan have been travelling before the festival of Eid, often choosing to move by night to avoid the heat of day.

Tense time

Image copyright EPA
Image caption In a separate attack on Thursday, two foreign aid workers were shot dead in a vehicle in Herat province

On Thursday, gunmen in Afghanistan shot dead two Finnish women working for a Christian aid charity in the western city of Herat.

A local governor said the women had been travelling by taxi when gunmen on a motorcycle fired on their vehicle.

The attacks come at a tense time for Afghanistan.

The majority of foreign troops are preparing to leave by the end of the year, and votes are being rechecked in a fiercely disputed presidential election to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai.

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