Helmand province, Afghanistan (BBN)-A roadside bomb in Afghanistan has killed at least 12 members of the same family, including women and children, in southern Helmand province.

The blast struck the family’s van in the Marjah district, a Taliban stronghold, local police chief Nabil Jan Mullahkhail told reporters, reports BBC.

Several people were injured and the death toll could rise, he added.

Violence has increased across the country since the departure of most US and Nato forces last year.

The family had been fleeing the area after hearing a government offensive against the Taliban was imminent, a relative told the AP news agency.

The attack is yet to be claimed by any group but the Taliban routinely plant roadside bombs in the area to target Afghan security forces.

In February, the United Nations said more than 10,000 civilians had been killed or injured in Afghanistan in 2014, the highest number since 2009.

That figure included 3,699 civilian deaths, up 25% from 2013.