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Five killed as govt bus hit in Kabul blast

KABUL: 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 on 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 the militant Islamic State group 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 Eidul Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramazan.

Last June, the Taliban accepted a three-day ceasefire over the Eidul 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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