KABUL, Afghanistan – Two bombs hidden in crates of fruit exploded at security checkpoints in downtown Jalalabad (search) on Wednesday, killing a man and wounding 26 other people.
The blasts occurred a few minutes apart, shattering the windows of nearby homes and shops in the city, 80 miles east of Kabul (search).
One man died at a hospital. Five police officers and five children were among the wounded, said Faizan, a spokesman for the provincial government who uses one name.
"It's a very crowded area, and they were mainly shopkeepers and people just walking by," Faizan said.
Faizan blamed "enemies of the Afghan nation," meaning anti-government militants such as rebels from the ousted hard-line Taliban (search) regime.
But Hamed Agha, who says he speaks for the Taliban, said it was not involved and blamed feuds among security officials.
The blasts follow Friday's bombing of a bus carrying female election workers in Jalalabad. Two were killed, and 13 others were wounded. The Taliban, which has vowed to disrupt the September vote, claimed responsibility for that attack.
Meanwhile, an Australian journalist reported missing in southern Afghanistan days ago spoke briefly by phone Thursday to several people, including her mother, but it remained unclear whether the woman was safe, the Australian government said.
"At this stage we're still very concerned about her welfare and her whereabouts," said Justin Lee, from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. But he added that "we're not convinced she's been kidnapped either."
Carmela Baranowska (search), on assignment for Australian broadcaster SBS, disappeared after leaving a hotel over the weekend in the southern city of Kandahar with an Afghan assistant and driver.
Lee said international peacekeepers also had contacted Baranowska and reported she was safe, but Australian officials were still waiting to confirm that.
Australian officials were talking with contacts in Afghanistan, especially the Canadian military, from a consulate in Pakistan, Lee said.
SBS spokesman Mike Field said Baranowska had been contacted briefly by satellite phone Thursday, but that the line had dropped out.
"So we are still not much the wiser, basically," Field told Australia's Nine Network television.
Abdul Hakim Latifi, another purported spokesman for the Taliban, said the militia was not holding her. "We don't have a problem with journalists."
Khalid Pashtun, a spokesman for Kandahar's governor, said, "We're trying to find out about her, but right now we know nothing."
In neighboring Uruzgan province, suspected Taliban stopped four supply trucks bound for an American base, burning them and abducting 12 people, an official said.
Uruzgan Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan said hundreds of Afghan troops combing the province's Char Cheno district killed three Taliban fighters in a skirmish on Tuesday.
Four people were arrested in a search of nearby villages that also turned up dozens of assault rifles and a cache of mines rigged for remote detonation, Khan said.