Bomber kills at least 11 on Afghan bus

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KABUL, Oct 2 (Reuters) A suicide bomber today blew himself up alongside a bus in Kabul, killing at least 11 victims including policemen and civilians, Afghan officials said. It was the second such attack in the capital in four days.

The front of the bus was blown apart by the blast at the start of the morning rush hour on a narrow road in a shopping district in the city's western outskirts.

Shop windows were shattered and blood and body parts strewn on the ground. A police officer at the scene said women were among the dead and he had picked up the bodies of a number of children.

''The report we have indicates that so far 12 police have been killed and 15 wounded,'' said a police official who declined to be named.

Later, the Interior Ministry said 11 people - six police and five civilians, three of them children - had been killed.

Police had noticed the bomber as he tried to board the bus, the ministry said in a statement. He was shot and detonated his explosives outside the bus, it said.

A Taliban spokesman said the radical Islamic movement, which is fighting to topple the government and drive Western troops out of Afghanistan, was behind the attack.

''They are criminals. They don't have any respect for humanity,'' Health Minister Mohammad Amin Fatemi told reporters at the site.

''Islam is totally against suicide. Islam is against the killing of human beings like this ... We can expect more attacks.'' The Kabul head of criminal investigations said police were still investigating casualty figures.

''I can't say anything at the moment, there are civilian casualties but we don't know for sure how many,'' General Ali Shah Paktiawal told Reuters.

Ambulances rushed to the scene which was cordoned off by police.

''I was walking down the road when I saw a big explosion. I saw about 20 to 25 people dead on the bus,'' said witness Ajmal Shinwari.

At the hospital, Gul Haidar tried to get news of his nephew who was missing after the blast. His sister-in-law, a policewoman, and her child were killed in the attack.

Government workers often take their children with them to their offices and leave them in ministry creches.

In the worst suicide attack so far in Kabul, twenty-eight soldiers and two civilians were killed in a similar attack on a bus on Saturday.

The past 20 months in Afghanistan has been the bloodiest period since US-led coalition troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Some 8,000 people have been killed.

The latest victim was a soldier from the US-led coalition force who was killed by small arms fire on Tuesday in the eastern province of Kunar, the US military said in a statement.

Three more soldiers from the force were wounded, it added.

REUTERS ARB BD1536

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