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The bomb blast killed or wounded about 35 police officers. ((Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press))

A bomb ripped through a bus carrying police officers and recruits in Kabul on Sunday, killing 35 officers and wounding 52, officials said.

Taliban rebels told the BBC that they were responsible for thebomb attack.

Sunday's bomb blew off the roof of the bus and officers pulled a number of bodies from the wreckage, according to an AP reporter at the scene. The explosion twisted the bus into a charred skeleton.

Francesco Vendrell, the European Union'senvoy to Afghanistan,told CBC Newsit's more important than ever nowto make sure police forces are well equipped.

"We have witnessed another cowardly attack against the police forces of this country,'he said. "And I think the fact that the police forces are the target and— not only today but in the past— attests to the importance of the police to their key role in ensuring the security of this country."

That wasalso one of thereasons Canada's Chief of Defence StaffGen. Rick Hillier brought his senior military officials to Kandahar city this weekend.

They were there to reassess the missionand refocus efforts to make sure Afghan forces are well trained and equipped.

Fazel Rahim, a doctor from a nearby hospital that was dealing with victims of the bus blast, said 18 bodies were in the hospital courtyard, while 35 wounded were being treated inside the building.

"Most of the wounded are in serious condition," said Rahim, whose hands and white coat were covered in blood.

Wali Mohammad, an eyewitness who was driving his car just behind the bus, said "there were a lot killed and wounded, both police and civilian."

Mohammad said that he "saw a big fire and dust in front of me."

The blast happened at a crowded bus station, used by both police and civilians, near the Kabul governor's house.

with files from The Associated Press