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Taliban suicide attack on military bus kills five in Kabul


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Kabul: A Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul killed five military officers Wednesday in an attack on an air force bus, Afghan officials said, in the latest strike against the national security forces as US troops withdraw.

The Afghan capital has been relatively peaceful since the presidential election on June 14, though there have been street demonstrations as politicians are locked in a dispute over vote fraud.

"A suicide bomber targeted an ANA (Afghan National Army) bus this morning killing five ANA officers and wounding four in the west of Kabul," Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry, told AFP.

"Five civilians were also wounded. It was an ANA air force vehicle."

General Zahir Azimi, the defence ministry spokesman, confirmed the death toll and said the attack struck at 7:00 am (0230 GMT) as the military staff were being taken to work.

The Taliban used a recognised Twitter account to claim responsibility for the blast, adding that the suicide attacker approached the vehicle on foot before detonating his explosive-packed vest.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that at least 25 people had been killed on the bus, though the insurgents regularly exaggerate death tolls after attacks.

Election day saw a sharp rise in nationwide violence, but there has not been a major attack in Kabul since June 7, when 12 people were killed in a suicide strike against presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who escaped unharmed.

Abdullah has said he will reject the result of the on-going election vote count, alleging massive fraud against him in the race against his rival Ashraf Ghani.

NATO's 50,000-strong combat force will leave Afghanistan by December, though about 10,000 US troops will stay into next year if the new president signs a security deal with Washington.


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