Just hours earlier, four Afghan civilians and one Nato soldier died after a suicide car bomber targeted international forces outside Kandahar city, officials said.

Civilians killed

The assailant had waited in a taxi near a bridge between the airport and Kandahar city that Isaf troops regularly check for explosives, Inhamullah Khan, an Afghan army official at the bombing site, said.

The attacker detonated the bomb as the convoy crossed the bridge in the morning, hurling a military vehicle into the ravine below, he said.

Khan said the civilians who died were in a car that had pulled over nearby to wait for the convoy to pass.

Kandahar city, the capital of the province of the same name, is east of Helmand province, where thousands of US, Isaf and Afghan troops are conducting a two-week-long anti-Taliban offensive and where a roadside bomb claimed the lives of 11 civilians on Sunday.

In other violence, Daud Ahmadi, the Helmand governor's spokesman, said "a civilian car struck a roadside bomb in Nawzad district" in the province's north.

Blaming the Taliban for the attack, Ahmadi said the dead included two children and two women.

Pakistan attack

Meanwhile, anti-government fighters in Pakistan blew up a tanker carrying fuel for Isaf troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Several armed men lobbed a rocket and then opened fire on Monday on the supply convoy on the outskirts of the northwestern city Peshawar, Imtiaz Ahmed, a senior police officer, said.

In a subsequent exchange of fire lasting up to an hour, Pakistani security forces killed a fighter, Karim Khan, another police officer, said.

Police did not immediately identify the assailants, but the Taliban and members of local group Lashkar-e-Islam regularly attack Nato supply vehicles on the main route through northwest Pakistan.