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11 Afghans killed by roadside bomb: official

   KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) - Eleven members of an Afghan family were killed by a roadside bomb that struck their minibus in southern Afghanistan Saturday, a local official said.

   "Eleven civilians were killed after an IED (improvised explosive device) hit their vehicle today at 7:50 a.m.," Mohammad Jaan Rasulyar, deputy provincial governor of Zabul told AFP.

   "They were en route to Ghazni province from Pakistan through Zabul's border area."

   He added that the group -- five men, four women and two children -- were all members of the same family and were thought to be Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan.

   Roadside bombs planted by Taliban-led militants, who have been waging an insurgency against foreign forces for nearly ten years, are a frequent cause of casualties among civilians in Afghanistan.

   Civilians are the biggest victims of the war. The United Nations said that 2,777 people were killed last year, the highest total since the war started in 2001.

   The UN also said last month that the number of security incidents in Afghanistan this year since March was 51 percent higher than in the same period last year. Most attacks involved IEDs or armed clashes, it added.