By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
December 31, 2010
Every day across Afghanistan, rural people crowd aboard rickety communal taxis that ply the roads linking remote towns and villages. And every day, they run the risk of what happened Thursday morning in Helmand province.
A roadside bomb ripped through a minibus in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of east-central Helmand, incinerating the vehicle and killing 14 people, including men, women and children.
The Taliban and other insurgent groups routinely seed roads that run through battle zones with explosives in hopes of killing and maiming Western troops — which the devices do, in large numbers. But more often the victims are Afghan civilians.
This has been the war's deadliest year for noncombatants and combatants alike, with civilian casualties for the first 10 months of this year running 20% higher
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