16 dead in van bombing in Afghanistan

Story highlights

  • State Department calls it a "callous, targeted attack on innocent civilians"
  • The minibus was returning from a wedding party
  • A total of 20 people were on board; 11 of the dead were children
Sixteen people, including 11 children, were killed Tuesday when their minibus was caught in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan's Herat province, according to a spokesman for the Herat police, Noorkhan Nikzad.
Also among the dead are four women, Nikzad said, and at least four civilians were injured.
Although local authorities in Afghanistan said the civilian minibus struck a landmine, the U.S. State Department released a statement Tuesday night saying the explosion occurred when "terrorists detonated a roadside bomb under a van."
The statement, from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, called the bombing a "callous, targeted attack on innocent civilians." Nuland said the United States "strongly condemns today's murder."
Herat police spokesman Nikzad said the minibus was returning from a wedding party with about 20 people aboard. He said Taliban militants are suspected in the attack.
The commander of the Security Assistance Force also condemned the attack.
"ISAF condemns this vile and indiscriminate act, and the perpetrators involved," said Gen. John R. Allen, commander of ISAF. "The people of Afghanistan deserve to live free of these threats to their happiness and safety."
ISAF will partner with Afghan authorities to bring those responsible to justice, he said.