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Taliban Bus Attack in Southern Afghanistan Kills 30

Afghan officials say Taliban insurgents have killed some 30 people, including a child, traveling on two buses in southern Kandahar province.

A local police chief said Sunday that the incident occurred Thursday in the province's Maiwand district. He said militants tried to stop the first bus, but failed. They began firing at it, killing a child on board.

The police chief said militants managed to stop and hijack the second bus carrying about 50 passengers.

About 30 bodies were later found near the road and the other passengers were released.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the deaths of 27 people - all Afghan soldiers. But a Defense Ministry spokesman, General Zahir Azimi, said there were no soldiers on board the buses.

The death toll could not be independently verified.

Aid agencies say at least 3,000 people have died in insurgency-related violence this year. The United Nations says more than 1,400 of those people were civilians.

International and Afghan forces have been fighting militants sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida for the past seven years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.