Two separate blasts in southern Afghanistan killed 14 people, including a group of insurgents who were trying to rig an improvised bomb against Afghan and foreign forces, officials said on Tuesday.

In the volatile Nawzad district of Helmand province a group of seven Taliban militants died while trying to cut a pipe bomb and fit it into a vehicle on Monday, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi told AFP.

“The explosive-packed pipe detonated killing a Taliban commander along with six of his fighters,” he said.

Roadside bombs are the most commonly used weapons by the Taliban, who are leading a 10-year insurgency and are responsible for the bulk of deaths among the US-led coalition and Afghan security forces.

On the same day, seven people, including six women, were killed in an explosion in Nawa district of the same province inside a house used by a local Taliban commander Mullah Manan, a senior security official said.

“We have intelligence that the Taliban commander was making bombs inside the house,” Mohammad Ismail Hotak told AFP.

Helmand has experienced increasing militancy over the past couple of years despite Afghan and NATO-led operations.

The number of civilian casualties, many of them killed by roadside bombs, hit a record of 3 021 last year, according to a UN annual report. - AFP