29 Jul 2011

Civilians killed in Afghan blast

8:57 pm on 29 July 2011

At least 18 civilians have been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghan's southern province of Helmand.

The first six months of 2011 have been the deadliest for civilians in Afghanistan since the war began.

Police say a minivan packed with passengers struck a roadside bomb in the southern province of Helmand.

The ABC reports that the explosion happened in the Nahri Sarraj district and the vehicle was on its way to the provincial capital in Lashkar Gah.

Several children were amongst the dead.

More than 1400 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year in Afghanistan, a 15% increase on the same time last year.

Roadside bombs pose a deadly risk to people travelling in Helmand and other provinces.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has urged the insurgents, Afghan and coalition forces to reduce the number of civilian casualties.