News - Afghanistan
According to local officials, a group of men, women and children loaded into a bus heading to a wedding celebration in central Ghazni province on Sunday night struck a roadside bomb, resulting in at least 20 casualties.
The incident occurred near the town of Habib Gulda in Andar District of the province, according to officials.
Although the exact numbers of dead and injured vary amongst reports, the most widely quoted figures put the death toll at 18, most of which are said to be women and young girls.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the incident, mines and various forms of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along roadsides are a staple tactic of the Taliban. When foreign troops are killed by them, insurgent spokesman usually take credit.
Concealed roadside bombs are used to catch convoys of foreign and Afghan troops off guard as they travel along roads throughout the country. However, an unsuspecting civilian, or group of them in this case, are often just as likely to detonate the inconspicuous explosives as an American or Afghan soldiers are.
According to the most recent statistics from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 53 percent of civilian casualties in Afghanistan were caused by roadside bombs.
Jones Carlson, NATO's Explosive Combat Unit Chief in Afghanistan, has advocated for increased training programs for Afghan forces in locating and disabling these mines and IEDs around the country.
"Several decades of war in Afghanistan have left a lot of unexploded arms, ammunitions and mines in the country, the usage of explosive materials has been a great threat in Afghanistan, and because of that we provide training to the Afghan forces and teach them how to deactivate the mines," explained Carlson last week.
Ghazni is one of the more restive provinces in Afghanistan. Officials from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) recently listed it as one of the provinces in which districts remained subserviced by voter registration offices for the upcoming elections.