World Bulletin/News Desk
A string of roadside bombs and clashes in southern Afghanistan killed at least 24 Afghan civilians and police on Sunday, officials said, in one of the deadliest days of violence in the country for weeks.
Two NATO soldiers were also killed by a roadside bomb and in separate attacks over the past two days in the south, the coalition said, without providing further details.
Three bombs hit three vehicles in Kandahar province, killing 18 people including children.
"Villagers were travelling in a mini-van and a tractor when they were hit by twin roadside bombs planted by the Taliban," provincial governor spokesman Ahmad Faisal said of the attack in Spin Boldak near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.
A third bomb then killed a family of four in Arghistan district, also straddling the Pakistani border, local officials said.
Two policemen were killed by a bomb in southern Helmand province which borders Kandahar to its west, where clashes with fighters killed another four officers, its media office said.
Civilians bear the brunt of the violence. Despite the UN reporting a 20 percent decrease in civilian deaths in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2011, last year saw the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan rise for a fifth straight year to over 3,000.
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Men and boys account for the bulk of the deaths but nearly 18,000 women and more than 2,000 children under the age of nine are also among those killed
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