KABUL, Afghanistan -- Militants ambushed a bus carrying construction workers in the country's volatile south yesterday, killing 19 of the laborers, while Afghan and NATO forces said they killed 35 Taliban militants in two separate firefights.
The attack on the bus in Kandahar province began when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle, said Zemeri Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman. Some laborers may have been killed by the bomb, while others were shot by militants who attacked the panicked workers with gunfire, he said.
Nineteen construction workers were killed and three wounded, Bashary said. It wasn't immediately known how many people were on the bus or who the laborers worked for.
The attack, in Shorabak district, occurred in a remote area of southern Kandahar province that borders Pakistan some 110 miles south of Kandahar city.
Southern Afghanistan has seen a surge of violence this year, fueled by a resurgent Taliban and a growing drug trade. Afghan officials say that Taliban fighters cross the border from northern Pakistan to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
President Hamid Karzai, on a trip to Canada, condemned the attack and said that ``heinous acts of terrorism" wouldn't hinder his country's reconstruction process.
In neighboring Uruzgan province, police Thursday evening killed 25 Taliban militants in a battle in Chorah district, about 200 miles southwest of Kabul, said the provincial police chief, General Kasam Khan.
One police officer was killed and five were wounded, he said.
NATO forces and Afghan police also fought Taliban militants in nearby Helmand province, killing 10 of the fighters, NATO said.