Conflict & Justice

Afghanistan bombings kill 14

Two bombings — one overnight and another early Monday morning — killed at least 14 people in southern Afghanistan.

The first blast hit Zabul Province late Sunday night, killing 11 people and wounding another 20.

Local officials said the dead included a senior police official, two policemen and eight civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The local police chief was allegedly the target of the attack.

The second explosion took place Monday morning in Kandahar Province, killing a mother and her two children.

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President Hamid Karzai's office condemned both bombings.

The attacks come as Afghanistan's security forces prepare for next April's presidential election, although five districts in the country are still struggling with insurgency.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said that up to 96 insurgents have been killed in security operations. Militants have taken advantage of the security vacuum as foreign troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The Afghan army and police took over security last month as part of the phasing out of NATO troops that will be completed by the end of 2014.

The April 5 election will be a test of Afghanistan's ability to smoothly transition power power between governments ahead of the final pullout of international troops.