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Afghanistan roadside bomb kills 3

World News : An Afghan family’s car struck a bomb buried in a road in the country’s west on Tuesday and the father and three children were killed, an official said.

They were the latest deaths in a sharp rise in civilian casualties amid a fierce wave of insurgent attacks.

The father and children were killed instantly, and the mother was critically injured in the explosion, said Abdul Rahman Zhawandai, spokesman for the western province of Farah.

Civilian casualties have soared in recent weeks as the Taliban and other insurgents attack around the country to test the Afghan security forces, now that international troops have stepped back in preparation for the withdrawal of most next year.

In just the past two weeks of the escalating spring offensive, violence has killed or wounded 412 Afghan civilians, up 24 percent over the same time last year, the U.N. said Monday. It blamed insurgents for 84 percent of those deaths.

Another buried bomb killed seven more people on Monday in the eastern province of Laghman. A group of women and children were returning from gathering firewood in the mountains when their vehicle struck the explosives.

The same day, a suicide bomber targeting American troops killed nine Afghan children who were walking home from school nearby, as well as two of the Americans and an Afghan police officer.

The Taliban has repeatedly said it avoids killing innocent Afghans, but statistics kept by the United Nations show most civilian deaths are from insurgent attacks.

The U.N. has particularly condemned insurgents’ use of pressure-detonated bombs buried in roads throughout the country, saying the indiscriminate weapons kill many innocent civilians and are prohibited under international humanitarian conventions. Agencies

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