Sun, 08 Jul 2012 13:28:22 GMT | By AP

Bombs, attacks kill 23 in southern Afghanistan

Kabul: Roadside bombs and insurgent attacks killed 16 Afghan civilians, five policemen and two members of the U.S.-led coalition in southern Afghanistan where militants are trying to reclaim territory, Afghan and NATO authorities said on Sunday.

Bombs, attacks kill 23 in southern Afghanistan

A surge in Afghan and coalition forces during the past two years routed Taliban fighters from many of their strongholds in the south, but the insurgents stepped up their attacks this summer to take back key areas. The civilians, including women and children, were killed in a trio of blasts in Arghistan district, along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.

Kandahar province spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal said one bomb exploded when a minivan ran over it on Sunday morning. A second went off when other civilians riding a tractor arrived to help the wounded. A third explosion occurred about two hours later when a civilian vehicle hit a roadside bomb in another area of the district, killing two women.

At least 10 other civilians were injured in the three blasts. The policemen were killed while responding to a gun battle being waged against insurgents early Sunday at a checkpoint in the Musa Qala district of neighbouring Helmand province. Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman in Helmand, said a group of Taliban fighters attacked the police checkpoint at about 3 a.m.

Afghan police called for reinforcements, but on the way, one of the police vehicles hit a roadside bomb, killing the five policemen.

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