Nine Afghans Herding Cattle Killed by Mine


Nine civilians including five children have been killed by a roadside mine as they herded cattle in northwest Afghanistan, police said Saturday.

The incident took place in Faryab province, which borders Turkmenistan, late Friday and again highlights the dangers civilians face in the ten-year war in Afghanistan.

Faryab police spokesman Sayed Massoud Yaqoobi confirmed details of the incident, adding: "Nine civilians were killed including five children and a man was wounded."

There are about 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, mainly from the United States, combating a Taliban-led insurgency that started after the militants were ousted from power by a U.S.-led invasion.

But civilians are the biggest casualties of the war.

The United Nations said in July that 1,462 civilians were killed by the Afghan conflict in the first half of this year, up 15 percent on the same period last year.

It blamed 80 percent of the deaths on insurgents. Many deaths come as a result of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines.

In the latest major attack in Afghanistan, insurgents this week killed at least 15 people -- including 11 Afghan civilians of whom three were children -- in an attack which targeted the United States embassy in Kabul.

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