Recent months have seen more international troops in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban's stronghold [Reuters]

At least three people have been killed and many more injured after a car bomb exploded near a crowded bank in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Kabul, the Afghan capital, said that the blast took place near Kabul Bank at a time of the month when many police officers were at the branch to draw cash.

"The bomb was apparently planted in a car near the bank," he said.

"Eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that they saw many people being taken to the hospital."

Khan Mohammad, the city's police chief, confirmed that the explosion was a car bombing and one of the dead was a police officer.

The blast partly destroyed shops, some buildings and several police and army vehicles, a witness said.

Series of attacks

Several members of the Afghan security forces fired into the sky in panic after the blast, Mohammad said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban fighters have previously carried out suicide attacks in the province, which is a stronghold of the group.

Earlier this month, four policemen and two children were injured in a car bomb close to the police headquarters in the city.

Kandahar, the biggest city in southern Afghanistan and the birthplace of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, is at the heart of a nine-year Taliban battle with some 140,000 US-led international troops.

It has been flooded with international troops in recent months and there is a regular stream of convoys and patrols on the streets.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies