Suicide bomber attacks Afghan army bus; 7 wounded

A suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying Afghan soldiers to work in the capital early Wednesday, wounding seven people in an explosion that engulfed the undercarriage of the bus in flames, officials and witnesses said.

The attack comes three days after a would-be car bomber was shot dead by police in downtown Kabul. That assailant was driving a vehicle packed with explosives and officials said he appeared to be targeting an intelligence agency office nearby.

Wednesday's attacker was on foot. He wore a black overcoat and carried an umbrella as he crossed the snowy street toward the bus, said Ahmad Shakib, who was waiting on the opposite side of the street for a car from his office to take him in to work. The Afghan government uses buses to ferry soldiers, police and office workers into the center city for work every day. These vehicles, which run regular routes, have been a common target for insurgents.

The attacker set down his umbrella in the middle of the road as he approached the bus, then lay down next to the bus and pushed himself underneath, Shakib said.

"I thought to myself, `What is this crazy man doing? And then there was a blast and flames,'" Shakib said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message to The Associated Press.

The early morning blast in western Kabul wounded six soldiers and one civilian, the Kabul police chief's office said in a statement. Spokesmen for the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry said no one was killed in the blast.