3 Afghan Civilians Killed In Blast

Three civilians were killed and five wounded in a bomb blast in western Afghanistan on Monday, local officials told media.

A spokesman for the provincial police chief of Herat, the capital of Herat province, said the explosion occurred even as police were trying to defuse the bomb planted underneath a bridge there.

An Interior Ministry statement said explosives experts had been called in after the police discovered the bomb early on Monday. It said the bomb had been planted by "enemies of the Afghan government," an euphemism used to refer to Taliban militants.

A policeman also sustained injuries in the powerful explosion.

Compared to the violence-prone southern Afghanistan, which is a Taliban stronghold including the militants' former spiritual home Kandahar, Herat is relatively peaceful and prosperous too.

Presently, there are around 150,000 NATO-led troops in Afghanistan including 30,000 Americans deployed there as part of a major push to snuff out insurgency.

Some 600 NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year making it the deadliest yet for the U.S.-led alliance.

According to a U.N. report, as many as 1,000 civlians had also been killed so far this year.

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