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Afghanistan

Afghanistan roadside bombing kills 18 on way to wedding

A roadside bombing in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Ghazni has killed at least 18 people. The victims, mostly women, had been on their way to a wedding. A civilian was also killed in an earlier attack on troops.

Police said that the blast in the Andar district occurred as the bus was traveling between villages just before dusk on Sunday.

"Eighteen people were killed when the minivan they were travelling in hit a roadside bomb on Sunday," Ghazni's deputy governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, was reported as saying by the Reuters news agency.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said that 14 women, along with three men and a child, had been "martyred."

"The ministry strongly condemns this brutal attack of the enemies of Afghanistan," a statement said.

The term "enemies of Afghanistan" is often used by officials to describe the Taliban. Though the tactic of roadside bombing is commonly used by the Islamist insurgents, the Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the Andar bombing.

The attack came as the Afghan government attempts to find a settlement with the Taliban that might end 12 years of armed conflict since the US-led invasion of the country. However, any peace deal appears far off, with numerous stumbling blocks still to be overcome.

Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi claimed that the bomb was aimed at a military bus in the city's eastern district of Arzaan Keemat.

A member of the army and three other people were also reported by the ministry to have been killed in a roadside bombing on Sunday in Herat province.

rc/mkg (AP, dpa, Reuters)