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At Least 18 Killed in Afghan Explosion


A powerful explosion has killed at least 18 people traveling on a bus in southern Afghanistan. Afghan authorities blame anti-government fighters for the attack.

Police say the bomb was planted on a bridge near the city of Kandahar, and exploded as the bus was crossing. Eyewitnesses say body parts were spread over a large area. They say at least two people survived.

Local officials believe that Afghan security forces were the targets of the explosion, just one kilometer from a military post.

No one has taken responsibility, but Afghan police blame al-Qaida and Taleban fugitives. They say rebels loyal to renegade commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar may also have been involved. The radical Islamic warlord has declared a holy war against U.S. forces and their Afghan allies.

He is suspected of having allied himself with the remnants of Taleban and al-Qaida militants. Mr. Hekmatyar has been blamed for a series of attacks in recent months.

Earlier this week, U.S. troops killed at least 18 rebels who had attacked them. The attackers were believed to be supporters and members of the ousted Taleban, who were trying to regroup in the mountains south of Kandahar. U.S. military officials say the anti-government fighters are loyal to Mr. Hekmatyar.

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