Bomb hits army bus in Kabul, many dead (video)

Other News Materials 29 September 2007 09:09 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - A bomb ripped through a bus carrying Afghan soldiers in the capital Kabul on Saturday leaving many people dead and wounded, witnesses and officials said.

The bus was completely destroyed and bodies could be seen at the scene. Some of the victims appeared to be Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and others were passers-by, the witnesses said.

The authorities did not immediately have information on the casualty toll but said it was likely to be high.

A man at the scene who gave his name only as Guldad estimated he had seen about 24 people dead or wounded but this could not be confirmed.

"There has been an explosion involving an ANA bus," senior Kabul police chief General Alishah Paktiawal told AFP. "It has heavy casualties."

Paktiawal said the blast appeared to have been a suicide attack but it was not immediately certain if the bomber was inside or outside the blast.

But interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said the bomb may have been attached to the vehicle.

"There are a number of dead and injured," he said.

The bus was apparently taking Afghan army employees to work when it was attacked in a residential suburb just northwest of the city centre. The area was cordoned off by security.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but similar ones have been blamed on the Taliban movement's intensifying insurgency.

It was the first attack in the city since a suicide bomb on September 21 struck a NATO armoured vehicle, killing a French soldier and wounding several Afghans.

While most of insurgency-linked attacks are in remote areas in the south and east of Afghanistan, there have been a series of strikes inside Kabul this year.

The deadliest was on a police bus on June 17. Officials said at the time 35 policemen were killed, making it the worst such attack since the Taliban launched its insurgency after being driven from government six years ago.

On August 15, three German security officers attached to the embassy were killed when their vehicle struck a bomb just outside the capital.

The Taliban were ousted from government in late 2001 in a US-led invasion launched weeks after the 9/11 attacks blamed on Al-Qaeda, which was sheltered by the Taliban government.