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    14 die in Helmand explosion

    KABUL(PAN): Fourteen local civilians have been killed and four others wounded when a Taliban-style bomb ripped through a van-shape passenger vehicle on the Lashkargah-Sangin road in southern Helmand province on Thursday, the governor's office said in a statement.

    Eighteen people, including women and children, were on the bus when it hit by the bomb at around 8:30am in Nahr-i-Saraj area of Greshk district.

    The bomb was placed on the side of the road.

    "Fourteen of the passengers have unfortunately died and four others injured," the governor' house said.

    However, it said the exact number of women and children killed in the blast was not immediately known.

    The Governor’s Office was shocked by hearing the tragic news, the statement said, adding the enemies of Afghans and the country were always behind such brutal actions. The Governor’s office extended deep sympathy to the families of those killed and wounded.

    Earlier, NATO said the explosion happened in a crowded area. Afghan National Security and International Security Assistance Forces responded to the scene of the blast to provide medical assistance and evacuate wounded, the alliance said in a statement.

    Waheedullah, a resident of the area, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the mine struck the 303 passenger bus, killing and wounding dozens of people.

    The governor's spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, said the blast took place on the road leading to Sangin district.

    He said the wounded had been shifted to the Mirwais Hospital in neighbouring Kandahar province.

    Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were overthrown more than nine years ago.