20 die as insurgents target Afghanistan’s demoralised security forces

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ROADSIDE bombs and a suicide bomber have killed 20 people in a spate of attacks across Afghanistan.

The deaths came even though armed clashes between insurgents and Afghan security forces have decreased as the fighting season winds down with the approach of winter.

In one of the attacks, 10 civilians, including a child and four men, died as their vehicle struck a land mine in southern Helmand province.

Seven other people in the group – which was heading to a wedding – were wounded in the blast, said an official.

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up amid a police patrol in the southern city of Kandahar, killing the three policemen and wounding two.

And five troops died when their convoy hit a land mine in eastern Laghman province.

Two boys were killed by a roadside bomb in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.

Officials said the device had probably been planted by insurgents targeting police officers patrolling the area.

Insurgents have been increasingly targeting Afghan authorities and security forces now that Nato is drawing slowly towards the withdrawal of foreign combat troops, the last of whom are scheduled to leave the country in 2014.

Although the Afghan police and army have expanded rapidly to their planned strength of 352,000 members, the efficiency of both is undermined by low morale and many deserters.