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Blast targets bus in Kabul during rush hour

Survivors walk after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday. (REUTERS)

KABUL: A powerful explosion struck a bus in downtown Kabul during rush hour on Monday, officials said, sending smoke rising in the sky just days after a deadly insurgent assault on Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blast, but it comes as the Taliban step up attacks even before the official start of the annual spring offensive.
At least one woman was killed and eight other people were wounded, the Interior Ministry said, citing preliminary information.
“There has been an explosion against a minibus in Kabul,” said a police spokesman, adding that more casualties were feared.
“Police are investigating the nature of the explosion.”
Gunmen disguised as doctors stormed Afghanistan’s largest military hospital last Wednesday, killing more than 100 people in a brazen six-hour attack, multiple surviving staff and security sources said.
Insiders including two interns already positioned inside the facility were among the attackers, the sources said.
The carnage inside the heavily guarded hospital points at a spectacular intelligence failure and spotlights how insurgents have managed to infiltrate top government and military institutions in Afghanistan.
The savagery of the assault was characterized by how the assailants stabbed bed-ridden patients, threw grenades into crowded wards and shot people from pointblank range.
Daesh claimed it was behind the attack via its propaganda agency Amaq — hours after the Taliban denied responsibility.