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Afghans: Ambulance hits roadside bomb; 5 dead


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An ambulance struck a roadside bomb while rushing a pregnant woman and her family to a hospital in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing the woman and four of her family members, the Interior Ministry said.

The incident makes a total of nine civilians killed in insurgent attacks or bombings in one day.

The dead included two women and two children, while another two people were wounded, the ministry said in a statement. The vehicle hit the explosive in Sar-e-Pul city, the capital of the northern province of the same name.

The statement says the ambulance was driving on a road Monday in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul when it hit the buried explosive. It says the dead included two women and two children.

Earlier Monday, two women and two children were killed in the east when a mortar fired by insurgents hit their home in Ghazni province’s Gilan district, said Ghazni provincial spokesman Fazel Ahmad Sabawon. The militants appeared to be aiming for a government building nearby, but missed their target, he said.

Last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed as insurgents ratcheted up violence with suicide attacks and roadside bombs, according to the United Nations.

The number of Afghan civilians killed dropped 36 percent in the first four months of this year compared with last year — a promising trend, though U.N. officials have said that a likely cause of the drop in violence was the particularly harsh winter.

Anti-government forces, including the Taliban and other militants, were responsible for 79 percent of civilian casualties in the first four months of this year, according to the U.N. Afghan and foreign forces were responsible for 9 percent. It was unclear who was to blame for the remaining 12 percent.

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