Kabul, July 25: At least 15 civilians, including three women and a child, were shot dead in western Afghanistan by suspected insurgents who ambushed the bus they were travelling in, an official said Friday.
A group of armed men stopped the vehicle near the city of Ferozkoh in Ghor province and opened fire on the passengers late Thursday, the AIP news agency reported, citing regional government spokesperson Abdul Hayee Khatibi.
The number of civilian casualties continues to rise in Afghanistan as NATO-led forces prepare their final withdrawal by the end of this year.
Eight civilians were killed and 28 others were wounded Thursday in a motorcycle bomb explosion in a market in northern Afghanistan, while two Finnish voluntary workers were shot dead in the western city of Herat.
Forty two other people were killed in a suicide attack July 15 in a market in Orgun district in the southeastern province of Paktika, one of the deadliest attacks in recent years.
The Taliban disassociated themselves from the market blast, which the Afghan government blamed on the Pakistani Haqqani Network active between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In the first six months of 2014, violence in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 1,564 civilians, 17 percent more than in the same period the previous year, while the number of injured rose by 28 percent, to 3,289.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission will conclude by the end of 2014, but Washington will continue to maintain around 9,800 soldiers in the country till its complete exit in 2016.