Bomb hidden on bus kills 10

Friday, June 16, 2006

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A bomb hidden on a minibus carrying Afghan laborers to a coalition base in southern Afghanistan exploded Thursday, killing up to 10 people, police and U.S. military officials said.

The attack occurred in Kandahar city as the bus was carrying the workers to the Kandahar Airfield, the coalition headquarters in southern Afghanistan, said Abdul Hakim Hungar, the deputy provincial police chief.

Hungar said 10 people were killed and another 15 injured. The blast destroyed the bus and left blood and body parts scattered on a road in downtown Kandahar city, a former Taliban stronghold.

Bakery owner Amidullah said he was working in his shop when the explosion happened in front of him.

"I was making bread. At the same time, I heard an explosion and one of my customers and one of my workers was injured. When I came out of the shop, I saw the bus totally destroyed on the ground. I saw people dead and wounded lying on the ground," he said.

Coalition spokesman Maj. Quentin Innis said the explosion clearly targeted Afghans working for the coalition.

"We believe the bomb was on the bus, inside or underneath. This is a bus that brings Afghan workers to Kandahar airfield every morning," he said.

He said U.S. officials believe the explosion was orchestrated by Taliban forces, who have been regaining strength in southern Afghanistan.

"It's the first time Afghans working here have been deliberately targeted by the Taliban. These are local guys trying to support their families. They are clearly a nonmilitary target being targeted. That's a shift in tactics for the Taliban," he said.

Innis said he had received reports of at least seven people killed. Eight others who were injured have been taken to Mir Wais Hospital, where coalition personnel have been dispatched to help.

"The coalition will do whatever we can to support these individuals and their families," he said.

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