KANDAHAR: A roadside bomb killed at least 14 members of an Afghan family, including women and children, in the country’s volatile south on Saturday, officials said, in the first major attack in Ramazan.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the Marja district of Helmand province, a stronghold of Taliban militants.
The militants had recently rebuffed requests from Afghan clerics to halt attacks during Ramazan even as a surge in violence has sent civilian casualties soaring.
“Fourteen civilians were killed and five others wounded in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Marja district of Helmand province. All of them were from the same family,” Helmand deputy provincial governor Mohammad Jan Rasolyar said.
Helmand police chief Nabi Jan Mullah Khel claimed a higher toll, saying 16 civilians, including women and children, were killed while three other civilians were wounded.
Haji Fateh Mohammad, a tribal elder from the region, said he counted 15 bodies as he helped retrieve them from the twisted remains of the vehicle.
Marja district of Helmand province was the focus of a major US-led military offensive designed to clear out the militant group in early 2010.