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3 bombs explode in Afghan capital

Three bombs exploded in the Afghan capital Wednesday in attacks targeting government workers and security forces, killing one and injuring at least 47, police and witnesses said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Three bombs targeting government workers and security forces exploded Wednesday in the Afghan capital, killing one bystander and wounding at least 47 other people, police and witnesses said.

A British soldier also was killed in southern Afghanistan when he and other troops came under attack from suspected Taliban forces while on patrol in the province of Helmand, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.

The soldier was the sixth British serviceman to die in the country in a month. The clash came as U.S.-led coalition forces pressed on with their hunt for Taliban fighters in the south, killing 35 suspected militants during a raid late Tuesday in the village of Gujdar in Helmand province, the military said in a statement.

The blasts in Kabul — the second spate of bombings in as many days in the city — raised fears that violence roiling the south and east of the country could be spreading to the capital amid a spike in attacks by resurgent Taliban militants.

The first bomb blast in the capital occurred at 7:15 a.m., when a remote-controlled bomb blew up near an Afghan National Army bus in downtown Kabul, wounding 39 people on board, the Defense Ministry said. Police said the bomb had been hidden in a garbage container on the street.

The blast sent the bus veering out of control and it crashed nearby. All of the wounded were taken to a military hospital and were listed in stable condition, the Defense Ministry said.

AP Television News video showed plumes of black smoke pouring out of a burning bus, as ambulance sirens wailed nearby. Another explosion was heard, although it was unclear whether it was a bomb or a gas cylinder in the bus.

‘It was lucky’
A second bomb hidden in a hand cart exploded 15 minutes later in northern Kabul as a bus carrying Commerce Ministry employees drove by, killing one bystander and injuring eight others, police and witnesses said.

Five of the wounded were inside the bus, which was carrying 16 ministry workers, said government worker Noor Hak Stanezai, who had been on board. A bystander was killed and three others were injured outside the bus, Police officer Mohammad Nawad said.

“It was lucky the bus was not full, or else there would have been more casualties,” Stanezai said.

An AP reporter at the scene said the inside of the bus was bloodstained and filled with broken glass. Shrapnel from the explosion pockmarked the right side of the bus and the windows were shattered. Police cordoned off the area.

Third explosion targets military
A bus carrying Interior Ministry workers had been following just behind the bus that was hit, police said.

A third explosion in eastern Kabul targeted an Afghan army convoy, but nobody was reported hurt, said police officer Mohammad Nasim. The blast left a hole one yard wide in the roadside.

Among the militants killed in the U.S.-led coalition operation in southern Afghanistan were “area Taliban leaders who planned and conducted multiple attacks against local Afghans, government officials and coalition forces,” the military said.

On Tuesday, Kabul was rocked by two bombs. A roadside bomb went off Monday in eastern Kabul near a bus bringing Interior Ministry officials to work, wounding one of them. A second bomb that day, hidden in a cart, exploded in a crowded intersection of downtown Kabul, injuring 10 people.