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Afghan officials: bus bombing in capital kills 5

June 3, 2019
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Health workers evacuate a body as security personnel collect evidence after an attack that targeted a bus carrying government employees in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, June 3, 2019. Afghan officials said a sticky bomb attached to the bus detonated in the capital. Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the public health ministry, said five people were killed and 10 wounded in initial casualty reports and could rise. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb attached into a bus carrying Afghan government workers has killed at least five people and wounded 10 others in the capital, Kabul, Afghan officials said Monday.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the public health ministry, said the numbers could still rise. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the interior ministry, said the employees belong to the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.

Ahmad Shah, an eyewitness at the scene of the attack, said: “Five to seven bodies were on the street, a few of them were martyred and others were wounded.” He said some of the victims were “burning inside the bus — no one was able to enter.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban and Islamic State militants are active in Kabul and have staged attacks there.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack in a statement sent by the presidential palace.

A wave of attacks has rocked the Afghan capital over the last week. Four bombings on Sunday killed at least two people and wounded 27, and were preceded by deadly suicide bombings on Thursday and Friday.

Monday’s attack took place as the Afghan interior ministry has announced that Kabul is under tight security ahead of this week’s Eid-al Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Last June, the Taliban accepted a three-day cease-fire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday, a first for the group, but this year the Taliban have rejected any truce with the Afghan forces.

In another development, the Taliban have abducted four members of the Helmand Peace Convoy, a group of dozens of Afghans trekking across the country on foot calling for an end to the war.

Members of the convoy said Taliban militants came to speak with them on Sunday night while the group was in southern Helmand province, an area largely under Taliban control. The convoy members said the Taliban took four of them as representatives for further discussions, and they have not been heard from since.

A Taliban spokesman had no information about the event.

The peace convoy march its began in the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, and has been walking for over a year through different provinces. The protest march began with a group of nine men and picked up supporters during the long journey.

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