A bomb ripped through a bus Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, killing 15 people, including six children. Officials blamed al-Qaida and remnants of the Taliban militia for the bombing, the deadliest in nearly a year. The blast came as officials reported a large gunbattle in eastern Afghanistan between Afghan government forces and suspected Taliban fighters that killed at least 20 combatants. Anti-government insurgents have been stepping up attacks in recent months, particularly in the south and east of the country, in a bid to destabilize the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. Wednesday’s explosion appeared to have been caused by a bomb planted in the bus, which was carrying 20 people as it passed through Nadh Ali district in Helmand state on its daily route to the provincial capital Lashkargah. Full Story
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