Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

10 hurt in Afghan bus suicide blast

French soldiers with the NATO- led forces walk past blood stained snow at the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan (AP)

At least 10 people have been injured when a suicide bomber attacked a bus filled with Afghan soldiers in Kabul.

The Taliban bomber, wearing a black overcoat and carrying an umbrella as a shelter against heavy snow, crossed the road towards the vehicle, then lay down and slithered underneath it, where he then detonated his explosives, a witness said.

The man was killed, and at least six soldiers and four civilians were wounded, according to the Kabul police chief's office.

The bombing - the second attempted strike in the capital this week - was a reminder of the Taliban insurgency's ability to hit the Afghan government even with about 100,000 international troops helping secure the country.

The Afghan government uses buses to ferry soldiers, police and office workers into the city centre for work every day. These vehicles, which run regular routes, have been a common target for insurgents.

Soldiers were about to board the bus when the attacker slid underneath and detonated his vest, said Ahmad Shakib, who saw the attack unfold from across the street.

Mr Shakib said the attacker did not rush but moved purposefully across the snowy street. When the man started to push himself under the bus, Mr Shakib thought at first he was a driver's assistant trying to fix something. "I thought to myself 'What is this crazy man doing?' And then there was a blast and flames," Mr Shakib said. "It was a very loud explosion. I still cannot really hear."

The owner of a nearby bakery said six people who were waiting outside his shop to buy bread were injured. The windows of Mirza Khan's bakery also shattered.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the bombing in a text message to the Associated Press.

The attack comes three days after a would-be car bomber was shot dead by police in central Kabul. That assailant was driving a vehicle packed with explosives and officials said he appeared to be targeting an intelligence agency office nearby.