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Afghan President Condemns Blast That Killed Wedding Guests

  • VOA News

A roadside bomb blast has ripped through a minibus in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 19 people who were on their way to a wedding.

Friday's blast took place in the Dawlat Abad district of Balkh province. Authorities say at least 18 others were wounded.

Police say most of the passengers were women and children. The blast victims were taken to a hospital in Balkh's capital, Mazar-e-Sharif.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the bombing.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan or UNAMA says anti-government elements were responsible for 80 percent of civilian casualties in the first half of this year, with most casualties caused by improvised explosive devices. The U.N. says 1,145 civilians were killed from January to June.

The U.N. report released in August said improvised explosive devices used by insurgents remain the leading cause of deaths among Afghan women and children. It condemned what it called the "indiscriminate" use of such bombs and demanded that insurgents immediately stop "deliberate" killings of civilians.

International combat troops are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Separately on Friday, police say at least nine football fans were killed when their bus collided with a fuel tanker in the northern province of Jowzjan. At least 36 people were injured in the crash.

The football fans were on their way to the capital, Kabul, for the final round of Afghanistan's first premier soccer league championships.

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