South Asia

Afghan roadside bomb 'kills 22' in Herat province

Afghans carry a victim of a roadside bomb in to a hospital in Herat - Aug. 18, 2011
Image caption Afghan officials say the blast was planted by the Taliban

At least 22 people have been killed and many wounded when a roadside bomb hit a crowded minibus in the Afghan province of Herat, officials say.

Officials said the bus was full and women and children were among the casualties.

It was travelling from Obe district to the provincial capital, which recently passed to the control of Afghan forces.

Earlier on Thursday, a suicide attack at a US-run base in eastern Paktia province killed two Afghan guards.

"It was a big, powerful blast," the Associated Press news agency quoted Abdul Bashir, a village elder, as saying.

"Among the dead are men, women and children. The bodies are not easily recognisable."

The bus was on its way to a market where the passengers were going to shop, the agency quoted Mohyuddin Noori, a spokesman for the province's governor, as saying.

Afghan officials said the roadside bomb in Herat was planted by the Taliban.

Last December, 14 people were killed when a bus hit an explosive planted in the same area.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are widely used by insurgents. Their intended targets are Afghan or international security forces but because they are left unsupervised and activated by a pressure plate, civilian vehicles often detonate the explosives.

IEDs are to blame for the majority of civilian deaths in Afghanistan.