A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle packed with explosives has rammed into a car carrying the deputy governor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, killing him and wounding three of his bodyguards.
The attacker struck as Abdul Latif Ashna was being driven to work in the provincial capital, said ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashery.
The US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, condemned the killing and offered his condolences to the official's family.
"The loss of a great deputy governor like this is a setback," he said.
"What we have seen is that consistently, Afghan government leaders emerge and the people continue to rally in an effort to establish security in this province and build a strong government."
He spoke at Kandahar airfield, where he was attending a naturalisation ceremony for US service members becoming citizens at the base.
Kandahar, located in the Taliban's traditional southern stronghold, has been the scene of several recent attacks.
Two weeks ago a bicycle bomb targeting police vehicles near the city centre wounded at least 10 people - six civilians and four police.
Last month, a suicide car bombing in the city centre killed three people and wounded 26 others, most of them police