Suicide bomber kills seven in Afghanistan

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A suicide bomber on foot blew himself up outside a compound for security contractors in southern Afghanistan today, killing two Americans and five Afghans, officials and witnesses said.

The bomber struck as the men came out of the Kandahar compound of the US Protection and Investigations security company, said Rohullah Khan, an official with the company. Three others were wounded, he said.

The area where the attack happened is located opposite the Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team inside Kandahar city. The blast was the sixth suicide attack in Kandahar province in the last nine days.

Provincial police chief Asmatullah Alizai said two foreigners, four Afghan policemen and a translator were killed.

USPI employee Mohammad Aszal said the two foreign victims were American.

Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who claims to be a spokesman for Taliban affairs in southern Afghanistan, contacted The Associated Press and said the militant group was responsible for the attack. Ahmadi's exact ties to the militants are not known.

Near-daily attacks plague Afghanistan's lawless southern provinces - the former stronghold of the hardline Taliban regime, where the central government wields little power.

Taliban militants have launched a record number of suicide and roadside bombs this year. A growing insurgency, especially in the country's south and east, has left close to 4,000 people dead.

Despite the spike in suicide bombings in the past 10 days, NATO said today that the overall number of coordinated insurgency attacks across the country has decreased.

The number of major attacks in November was 449, a drop of nearly 50 percent compared to 869 in September, said Brig. Richard Nugee, the chief NATO spokesman in Afghanistan.