On February 14, a suicide attacker targeted a popular Kabul shopping mall, killing at least two people [AFP]

A suicide car bomber in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least nine people, including two police officers, according to the Afghan police.

Abdul-Hakim Isaqzai, the police chief in Khost, said the powerful explosion occurred on Friday morning at a checkpoint inside the province's main city, also named Khost. The checkpoint was located on a road to neighbouring Paktia province.

Amir Pacha, the director of hospitals in Khost, told the Associated Press news agency that 30 other people, mostly civilians, were wounded in the blast. 

Isaqzai said that local hospitals were in danger of being "overwhelmed" by the casualities.

The police chief said that officers were suspicious of the bomber. He responded to their suspicions by detonating the explosives that were packed into his car.

Houses and shops in the area were damaged in the explosion, and the road was covered with blood and body parts.

"This is an act of terror and is done by the enemies of the people and government of Afghanistan," Isaqzai said.

This phrase is often used by Afghan officials to refer to the Taliban, who have been battling international forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, according to an AP report.

Earlier this week, 19 people including 15 police and an intelligence agent died in a string of attacks centred on police headquarters in Afghanistan's de facto southern capital, Kandahar.

Source: Agencies