A suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying Afghan government employees in Kabul yesterday, killing three people, in the second bus attack in just a week to strike the same area of the capital, a police official said.

Taliban insurgents quickly claimed the attack near the Afghan attorney general’s office in the west of the capital.

Violence has continued in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of most foreign forces last year, with civilians frequent victims.

Yesterday’s bomber attacked a bus carrying workers from the attorney general’s office home after work, witnesses and police said.

“As I was crossing the road, there was a huge blast and I saw 10 to 12 people were wounded,” said bystander Mahboobullah, who, like many Afghans, uses only one name.

An official at the Ministry of Interior said initial reports indicated that three people had been killed and 10 wounded. He confirmed the bus had been carrying staff from the attorney general’s office.

Last Monday, another suicide car bomber targeted a bus in the same area, killing one civilian and wounding 15 people.

The Taliban claimed both attacks. Yesterday, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the hardline Islamist movement had killed “18 high-ranking hirelings”.

The Taliban frequently exaggerate casualties in their attacks and view civil servants as legitimate targets in their battle to topple the US-backed government.

The district has already fallen to the insurgents and the police and district chiefs have fled

Meanwhile dozens of Taliban fighters attacked local government buildings in a district of northwestern Afghanistan yesterday and may have captured the whole area, officials said. The attack is part of a wider Taliban offensive in the north of Afghanistan that is proving a tough test for the Nato-trained Afghan police and army, who have no foreign combat assistance following the withdrawal last year of most international troops. Commenting on the attacks in the district of Jawand, which is in the province of Badghis, provincial council chief Baha Agheem said: “The district has already fallen to the insurgents and the police and district chiefs have fled the area.”

A spokesman for the provincial governor, Mirwais Mirzakwal, said the fighting was still raging but that the district looked likely to fall into the insurgents’ hands.

The insurgents are also pressing attacks elsewhere in northern Afghanistan, notably on the major provincial capital of Kunduz, where fighting has dragged on for two weeks.

The Taliban has long held sway over some rural districts, especially in its traditional southern and eastern strongholds, but this year the insurgents have also expanded attacks in the north with an eye toward grabbing more territory.

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