KABUL, Afghanistan – Multiple bombs hit Kabul Wednesday for the second day in a row, killing one and injuring nearly 50, raising fears that violence largely confined to the south and east is making its way to the insulated capital.
Coalition forces continued their hunt for Taliban forces, killing 35 suspected militants during a raid of an enemy compound in southern Afghanistan. One British soldier was killed on patrol in a separate attack.
Three bombs exploded across the capital in rush-hour attacks that targeted buses carrying government workers and security forces, police and witnesses said. A day earlier, two other similar bombings hit Kabul, leaving 10 injured.
The violence has shaken the city, which has seen little of the heavy fighting sparked by resurgent Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan. Kabul Police Chief Gen. Amanullah Ghuzar said extra police will be set up at checkpoints around the city.
"We have tightened security in the city," he said, adding that all pushcarts have been removed from the city's limit. Three of the bombs in the last two days had been hidden in pushcarts.
In the first attack around 7 a.m., a remote-controlled bomb blew up near an Afghan National Army bus in downtown Kabul, wounding 39 people on board, the Defense Ministry said. Police said the bomb had been hidden in a garbage container on the street.
Video footage from AP Television News showed plumes of black smoke pouring out of a burning bus, as ambulance sirens wailed nearby. The blast caused the bus to veer out of control, crashing nearby. All the wounded were taken to a military hospital where they were listed in stable condition, the Defense Ministry said.
Minutes later, a second bomb hidden in a pushcart exploded in northern Kabul as a bus carrying Commerce Ministry employees drove by, killing one bystander and injuring eight others, police and witnesses said.
Five of the wounded were inside the bus, which was carrying 16 ministry workers, said government worker Noor Hak Stanezai, who had been on board. Police officer Mohammad Nawad said that one civilian bystander was killed and three others injured outside of the bus.
"It was lucky the bus was not full or else there would have been more casualties," Stanezai said.
Police cordoned off the area. An AP reporter on the scene said the inside of the bus was bloodstained and filled with broken glass. Shrapnel from the explosion pockmarked the right side of the bus and the windows were shattered.
A third explosion in eastern Kabul targeted an Afghan army convoy on Policharki Road, but no casualties were reported, said police officer Mohammad Nasim. The blast left a hole one meter (yard) wide at the roadside.
The top UN official in Afghanistan condemned the violence directed against government institutions and personnel over the past two days, calling it an "outrage."
"These have served no purpose other than to terrorize the population, and kill or maim ordinary citizens going about their every day business. I am appalled by these callous and cruel acts," said Tom Koenigs, special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan.
The bombs on Tuesday had targeted a bus bringing Interior Ministry officials to work and a crowded intersection near the presidential palace.
Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence in recent months as Taliban forces seek to regain control of the south. More than 700 people have been killed since May, most of them militants.
The U.S.-led coalition has launched a massive offensive to hunt them down, with the latest raid occurring Tuesday night.
Coalition forces raided a Taliban compound in the village of Gujdar about 25 kilometers east of Musa Qala in southern Helmand province, killing an estimated 35 extremists, a military statement said.
Several of those killed were area Taliban commanders who had planned and conducted multiple attacks against local Afghans, government officials and coalition forces, the military said.
A British soldier was killed Wednesday when his patrol came under attack in Sangin town in southern Helmand province, said spokesman Capt. Drew Gibson.
He is the sixth British soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan. Two others died over the weekend in the same area.
British soldiers are part of a NATO-led mission to extend governance and provide security for rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan.
In a separate incident, two Afghan security workers were killed Tuesday in western Herat province when their vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, said Ghulam Sarwar Haidari, deputy provincial police chief.