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Bus Bombings Kills at Least 12 New Army Recruits in Afghanistan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least 12 army recruits on a bus in the eastern city of Jalalabad, a hospital official said on Monday.

The attack took place hours after a similar attack killed two people in the capital Kabul.

Twelve bodies and had been taken into the main regional hospital in Jalalabad city, 125 kilometers (77.5 miles) from the capital Kabul, said Ahsanullah Shinwari, the head of the hospital.

At least another 38 people were wounded, most of them in critical condition, he said.

The latest blast hit a bus in the Sorkh Rud district of Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan.

The number of casualties was expected to rise, several officials said.

Initial reports indicated that an attacker on an explosives-laden motorcycle rammed the bus, according to Ahmad Ali Hazrat, chief of the Nangarhar provincial council.

“The suicide bomber was on a three-wheel motorcycle and targeted new army recruits who were heading to Kabul for training,” said a police official.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed one of the ministry’s buses transporting army recruits on the outskirts of Jalalabad – the capital of Nangarhar province had been attacked but put the number of wounded at 26.

“It was a crowded area and it is hard to say now how many of them were from the defense ministry,” Waziri said.

Hours earlier, a bomb hit a mini-bus carrying Education Ministry workers in eastern Kabul, taking the lives of two people and injuring seven, the ministry said.

Interior Ministry Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said five people were wounded in the blast, caused by a magnetic bomb attached to the bus.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack. Government workers and members of the security forces are often targeted by insurgent groups, including the Taliban, who are seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

A spokesman for the Taliban said the Jihadi group was not aware of either of the attacks.

The Taliban have stepped up their insurgency since most foreign troops withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, although Kabul had enjoyed a period of relative calm during the harsh winter months.

That lull was expected to end soon with the Taliban poised to launch their annual spring offensive.

In Kabul, bus conductor Rahim Gul said the force of the blast threw him out of the vehicle.

“We picked up the Education Ministry staff and we were driving on the road when there was an explosion,” Gul told reporters.

“It was very powerful and threw me out of the car window. A few minutes later I found myself in a wheat field and then I rushed to the site of the attack and helped some injured people and they were taken to hospital.”

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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