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Bomb blasts kill 21 in Afghanistan

A string of attacks across Afghanistan, including one by a suicide bomber pushing an ice cream cart, have killed at least 21 people, as the UN said in a new report that May was the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since 2007.

The worst attack took place in the Khakrez district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, where a roadside bomb killed all 16 people travelling in a minibus, including eight children, said provincial police chief Abdul Raziq.

He said the bomb was planted by the Taliban and was intended for Nato or Afghan forces.

In the eastern province of Khost, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the local police headquarters in the Shai Kali area, killing three policemen and a child, according to provincial police chief Sadar Mohammad Zazai.

Among the four people killed in the blast was a local police chief, Mohammad Zahir Khan, Mr Zazai said. It was not immediately clear whether Mr Khan was specifically targeted. Provincial health director Hedayatullah Hamidi said 25 also were wounded in the attack.

A second suicide bomber, this one pushing an ice cream cart, killed one child and wounded three more in the central Afghanistan province of Ghazni, according to provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain.

"The suicide attacker was a young boy with a thin beard and moustache wearing a scarf," said an eyewitness who identified himself as Asadullah. "He was pushing an ice cream cart. I was just standing 20 metres from him and then he exploded."

The violence came the same day the United Nations released an interim report on civilian deaths that shows that last month 368 people were killed in the conflict and 593 were wounded, making May the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since 2007.

The UN said insurgents are responsible for 82% of those civilian deaths, while 12% were attributed to the international alliance and Afghan forces. Home-made bombs, such as the roadside device that struck the minibus in Kandahar, were the leading cause of death, according to the report.

Nato airstrikes, a frequent cause of tension between the Afghan government and the alliance, were responsible for 3% of civilian deaths in May.


From Belfast Telegraph