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17 Killed in Afghan Militant Attacks

Officials in Afghanistan say militants have killed at least 17 people in three separate locations.

Authorities say insurgents attacked a construction site overnight in the Karukh district of Herat province, killing nine workers.

Authorities say five civilians, including women and children, were killed in Helmand's Marhag district when their van hit a roadside bomb Saturday.

Also in Helmand province, another roadside bomb killed three women late Friday.

The Taliban uses roadside bombs in its battle against the U.S.-backed government and foreign forces. The bombs often kill and wound civilians.

Civilian casualties have spiked this year because of the increased violence. The United Nations said in its mid-year report that casualties were up 23 percent compared to the first six months of 2012.

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

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