HERAT -- Dozens of passengers, mainly women and children, were killed in western Afghanistan early Wednesday (July 31) when the bus they were travelling in hit a roadside bomb, officials said.
The attack, which came one day after the United Nations (UN) said Afghan civilians are being killed and wounded at a "shocking and unacceptable" level, occurred at about 6.00am.
"A passenger bus travelling on the Kandahar-Herat highway hit a Taliban roadside bomb killing 34 innocent people and wounding 17 others," said Mohibullah Mohib, a police spokesman for Farah Province.
All were civilians, mostly women and children, he said.
Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, also blamed it on the Taliban.
The insurgents gave no immediate confirmation that they were behind the blast.
Vague Taliban pledges, but carnage continues
The Taliban made a vague pledge this month to reduce civilian casualties.
Civilians have long paid a disproportionate price in the nearly 18-year conflict.
On Tuesday (July 30), the UN released a report showing that casualties have dropped 27% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, which was a record -- but nonetheless 1,366 civilians were killed and another 2,446 injured.
Child casualties represented almost a third of the overall total of civilian casualties.