Foreign workers killed in Kandahar suicide attack

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The Independent Online

A suicide car bomber struck the compound of a foreign security firm in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar yesterday, killing several foreigners and Afghan guards, officials said.

The blast came hours after another large car bomb in the centre of the city, which has been the scene of numerous attacks in recent weeks ahead of a major planned offensive by US troops expected there in coming months.

"The attack was on a security company. There are some casualties. Some foreigners were injured and killed; some security guards were killed," Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the Kandahar provincial council, told Reuters. He said preliminary reports indicated at least three foreigners had been killed and nine wounded.

A police official, Mohammad Nabi, said seven foreign workers, believed to be British, had been killed. Two other security sources said there were six dead, including three foreigners. A doctor at a central Kandahar hospital, Farhad, who uses only one name, said one dead foreigner had been brought to its morgue. Sixteen wounded Afghans and one wounded foreigner had been treated there, he said.

The attack came hours after another car bomb exploded near a hotel. Mr Nabi said six people were wounded in the first attack.

The birthplace of the Taliban, Kandahar is to be the focus of an upcoming US-led offensive to turn the tide against the insurgency, and the militant group in the past has played up some attacks as a warning to Nato forces. Taliban suicide bombers killed more than 30 people in a series of co-ordinated strikes across the city last month.