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breaking news: toll from Afghan roadside blast rises to 18

An Afghan police officer, right, stops a car for searching at a temporary checkpoint in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province east of Kabul, July 26, 2011.

KABUL: The toll from a roadside bomb that blew up a minivan on Friday in southern Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province rose to 18 and included at least one woman, the provincial deputy police chief said.

“The reports that I’ve received from the scene indicate that all 18 people in the vehicle have been killed,” said deputy police chief Kamaluddin Shirzai.

“We have been able to identify the bodies of one woman and three men so far,” he said, adding that police were still working at the scene of the blast.

Improvised explosive devices or IEDs are the Taliban’s favoured weapon, responsible for the majority of civilian and security forces’ deaths in the nearly 10-year war.

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