KABUL, July 20, 2009 (AFP) - Eleven civilians were killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb planted by insurgents in southwestern Afghanistan, a local government official said Monday.
The blast ripped through a minivan Sunday in Farah, a southwestern province troubled by attacks linked to Taliban militants, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Yunus Rasouli told AFP.
"Eleven civilians were killed yesterday by a roadside bomb in Gulistan district of Farah province when their minivan was hit by a roadside bomb planted by the enemies of Afghanistan," he said, referring to the militants.
Two other people were wounded, Rasouli said. Another local official, who confirmed the blast, said that all those killed were men.
The Taliban are the main militant group behind an increasingly deadly insurgency launched in Afghanistan shortly after their government was toppled in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Violence has surged ahead of the nation's second-ever presidential elections next month, with more foreign troops flooding in to try and help local forces secure Taliban strongholds and quell the unrest.
There are about 90,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and thousands of newly deployed US Marines, British forces and Afghan security troops are pressing a series of major assaults on militant bastions in southern Afghanistan.