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Afghanistan: 20 killed in militant bomb, gun attacks

By Masoud Popalzai, CNN
August 17, 2013 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 10 people are killed in an attack by insurgents in Herat province, police say
  • Roadside mines in Helmand province claim 8 lives, mostly women and children
  • A suicide bomber targeted a hospital in Farah province, police say

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A series of attacks in Afghanistan claimed the lives of 20 people -- all but one of them civilians -- in the space of less than 24 hours, officials said Saturday.

Ten people died when a group of insurgents attacked a police checkpoint in the country's western Herat province Friday evening, police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi said.

After exchanging fire with police at the checkpoint in Karokh district, killing one officer, the militants opened fire on a nearby tent housing construction workers for a road-building project. Nine of them died, Ahmadi said.

Roadside blasts in southern Helmand province claimed another eight lives, a statement from the office of the provincial governor said.

Three women were killed by a roadside mine while walking home in Sangin district Friday evening, it said.

Five others, three children, a woman and a man, were killed Saturday morning when their van hit a roadside mine planted by the insurgents in Marjah district, the statement said.

Two more people were killed and three injured in western Farah province Saturday morning when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a civilian hospital in Farah Rud district, said Fawad Askari, a spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan increased 23% in the first six months of this year, the United Nations said in a report released at the end of July.

The increase in deaths and injuries so far this year was mainly driven by the stepped-up use of improvised explosive devices, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in its report.

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