At least 28 people were killed and many injured in western Afghanistan after a bus they were travelling in hit a roadside bomb in the early hours on Wednesday, according to officials.

Muhibullah Muhib, spokesman for Farah province said, “A passenger bus travelling on the Kandahar-Herat highway hit a Taliban roadside bomb. So far at least 28 killed, 10 wounded”.

He further said that all were civilians, mostly women and children.

Farooq Barakzai, a spokesman for Farah’s governor has warned that the death toll may rise higher.

The blast took place one day after the United Nations said civilians are being killed and wounded at a “shocking” level in Afghanistan’s war, despite a push to end the nearly 18-year-old conflict.

No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack so far.

The US and pro-government forces have caused more civilian deaths than the Taliban and other insurgent groups for the second quarter running.

Child casualties represented almost one-third of the overall total of civilian casualties.

The bloodshed comes amid a month-long, US-led push to forge a peace deal with the Taliban that would see foreign forces quit the country in return for various security guarantees.

(With AFP inputs)