KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Roadside bombs and insurgent attacks killed 16 Afghan civilians, five policemen and two members of the U.S.-led coalition in southern Afghanistan where militants are trying to reclaim territory, Afghan and NATO authorities said Sunday.
A surge in Afghan and coalition forces during the past two years routed Taliban fighters from many of their strongholds in the south, but the insurgents stepped up their attacks this summer to take back key areas.
The civilians, including women and children, were killed in a trio of blasts in Arghistan district, along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.
Kandahar province spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal said one bomb exploded when a minivan ran over it Sunday morning. A second went off when other civilians riding a tractor arrived to help the wounded. A third explosion occurred about two hours later when a civilian vehicle hit a roadside bomb in another area of the district, killing two women.
At least 10 other civilians were injured in the three blasts.
According to the United Nations, last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed. The number of Afghan civilians killed dropped 36 percent in the first four months of this year compared with last year, but the U.N. says that too many are still being caught up in violence.
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