July 3, 2011 in Nation/World

Buried bombs’ toll soaring

Laura King Los Angeles Times
Associated Press photo

Disabled Afghan men march during an anti-Pakistan demonstration Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan. Rocket attacks have killed an estimated 36 civilians along the eastern border with Pakistan in recent weeks.
(Full-size photo)

Afghan civilian deaths at record high

Civilians have been dying in record numbers as violence intensifies across Afghanistan. The United Nations said that May was the deadliest month for noncombatants in Afghanistan since it began keeping track five years ago, with 368 civilians killed in war-related violence.

KABUL – Buried bombs killed 30 Afghans in a 48-hour span, in the latest grim illustration of the dangers faced by civilians as the season’s fighting heats up.

Insurgents routinely seed roads and pathways with improvised bombs, their favored weapon against Western troops. But most often those killed and injured by the hidden bombs are civilians.

The latest casualties came Saturday in Zabol province, in southern Afghanistan, when a van filled with travelers struck a roadside bomb. Thirteen people were killed, including four children and four women, said a spokesman for the provincial government.

On Friday evening, two bombs planted close together killed four people in the rural Maruf district of volatile Kandahar province. One was apparently triggered by a donkey, and two people riding or leading the animal died in the explosion. Two people who rushed to the rescue were killed by the second bomb, police said.

The Taliban and other insurgents often plant bombs close together in hope of killing troops and those who try to help victims.

The bombings in Zabol and Kandahar followed a deadly episode Thursday night in nearby Nimruz province, a roadside bomb that killed 13 people.

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