35 Afghans dead in bus crash: officials

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Aug 20, 2011 (AFP) - A total of 35 Afghans were killed and 27 others injured on Saturday when a speeding bus overturned on a highway in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

The smash happened just outside Kandahar city in the Daman district of Kandahar province on the main road connecting it to the capital, Kabul.

Kandahar provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa blamed the loss of life on the "carelessness of an unprofessional driver" who was driving too quickly at the time of the accident.

"Today at 3.30 am (2300 GMT Friday), 35 passengers were killed and 27 other passengers were wounded in a traffic accident when a bus rolled over," the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement.

Afghanistan's roads are perilous and many vehicles in the country are old, meaning that high casualty road traffic accidents are relatively common.

In the 12 months to March, 1,394 people were killed on the country's roads, according to the interior ministry.

Meanwhile, seven Afghan civilians were also killed in separate bomb blasts in different parts of the warring country Saturday.

Four died when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, a statement from the provincial governor's office said. Helmand is one of the country's most dangerous provinces.

And in a similar incident in the central province of Ghazni, three civilians died when their car hit another roadside bomb, provincial police chief Delawar Zahed told AFP.

In western Afghanistan, two Afghan army troops died and three others were badly injured when their vehicle was targeted by a rickshaw bomb in Herat city Saturday, army spokesman Najibullah Najibi said.

And one Afghan intelligence official was killed and four others were wounded by a tricycle bomb near the eastern city of Jalalabad Saturday, the provincial governor's spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

The Taliban, who are leading a ten-year insurgency against Karzai's Western-backed government, claimed responsibility for the two eastern attacks.

They often target government officials but large numbers of civilians are also killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

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