MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Eight civilians, including women and children, were killed in northern Afghanistan today when a roadside bomb apparently targeting security forces ripped through the vehicle in which they were travelling, officials said.
Another six people were wounded in the early morning blast in Sholgara district in Balkh province, Abdul Razaq Qaderi, deputy provincial police chief, told AFP.
"They were travelling towards the centre of the district when their vehicle was hit," he said, adding four children were among the dead.
District governor Amir Mohammad Weqar confirmed the incident, saying the bomb was planted by militants to hit Afghan security forces.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban often use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to target vehicles carrying foreign and Afghan forces and government officials.
Civilians have borne the brunt of the 17-year conflict, with casualties at record highs. IEDs, such as remotely detonated or pressure-plate bombs, are one of the main causes of civilian deaths and injuries.
In the first half of 2018 IEDs were responsible for 877 civilian casualties -- 232 deaths and 645 wounded. That accounted for 17 per cent of overall civilian casualties in the country, according to the UN.