As the fighting season escalates, civilians are dying in record numbers. Most recently, buried bombs kill 30 Afghan civilians in a 48-hour period.
Buried bombs killed 30 Afghan civilians in a 48-hour span in the latest grim illustration of the dangers faced by noncombatants as the season’s fighting heats up.
Insurgents routinely seed roads and pathways with IEDs, or improvised explosive devices — their favored weapon against Western troops. But most often, those killed and injured by the hidden bombs are civilians.
The latest casualties came Saturday in Zabul province, in southern Afghanistan, when a van filled with travelers struck a roadside bomb. Thirteen people were killed, including four children and four women, said a spokesman for the provincial government.
On Friday evening, two separate bombs planted close together killed four people in the rural Maruf district of volatile Kandahar province. One was apparently triggered by a donkey, and two people riding or leading the animal died in the explosion. Then two more people who rushed to the rescue were killed by another bomb, police said.
Civilians have been dying in record numbers as violence ratchets upward across Afghanistan. The United Nations said May was the deadliest month for noncombatants since it began keeping track five years ago, with 368 civilians killed in war-related violence. That month coincided with the start of the Taliban spring offensive.