Suspected rickshaw bomb kills 15, mostly children, at Afghan Koran reading ceremony: official

GHAZNI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suspected rickshaw bomb killed at least 15 civilians, including 11 children, on Friday at a Koran recitation ceremony in central Afghanistan, officials said.

Initial information suggested that explosives were placed in a rickshaw in a district of Ghazni province, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said. At least 20 people were wounded.

Afghanistan continues to be hit by violence even as the Afghan government and the insurgent Taliban have been holding meetings since September to discuss an end to the 19-year war. Western countries have begun a sharp troop drawdown.

Most of the victims in Friday's attack were under 18 years old, Wahidullah Jumazada, spokesman for the provincial governor of Ghazni, said.

Killings by small, magnetic bombs placed under vehicles have unnerving Afghan officials, activists and journalists, who blame the Taliban for the attacks.

At least 10 government officials and aides have been killed by "sticky bombs" in recent weeks, mostly in the capital, Kabul.

(Reporting by Mustafa Andalib in Ghazni and Abdul Qadir Sediqi in Kabul; Writing by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie)