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Afghanistan

Afghanistan bomb kills at least 34, mostly civilians

Nearly 1,400 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the first half of 2019.
Nearly 1,400 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the first half of 2019. AFP/NOORULLAH SHIRZADA

Dozens of passengers, mostly women and children, have been killed in western Afghanistan when the bus they were travelling in hit a roadside bomb, suspected to have been laid by the Taliban. 

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"A passenger bus travelling on the Kandahar-Herat highway hit a Taliban roadside bomb," said Muhibullah Muhib, the spokesman for Farah province. 

At least 34 were confirmed killed, with a spokesman for the provincial governor warning the toll may still rise.

The attack comes one day after the publication of a UN report published on 30 July, asking the parties fighting each other in Afghanistan to ensure “zero civilian casualties”.

The report documents 3,812 civilian casualties (1,366 dead and 2,446 injured) in the first half of 2019 – figures that don’t include the latest attack.

Intra-Afghan dialogue

The UN says it “supports the demand for all parties to reduce civilian casualties to zero, made in the joint declaration by Afghan participants at the 7-8 July 2019 Intra-Afghan Dialogue held in Doha.

“Everyone heard the message loud and clear from Afghan delegates in the Doha talks – ‘reduce civilian casualties to zero!’” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“We urge all parties to heed this imperative, to answer the call of Afghans for immediate steps to be taken to reduce the terrible harm being inflicted,” added Yamamoto.

The UN report says that “Anti Government Elements” continue to cause “the majority of civilian casualties,” while “ground engagements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties,” causing one-third of the overall total.

The report did note a 16 percent decrease in the number of civilian casualties compared to the first half of 2018.

It also said that the deployment of improvised explosive devices, mainly in non-suicide attacks, was the second leading cause of injuries to civilians, representing 28 percent of the total. Civilian casualties from aerial operations accounted for 14 percent.

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