A suicide car bomb exploded near police headquarters in Kandahar, in the volatile south [EPA]

At least nine people have been killed after a car bomb exploded outside the police headquarters of a southern Afghanistan city, officials said.

The blast went off at a parking lot outside the police building in Kandahar, Saisal Ahmad, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said on Sunday.

 

Five police officers and two civilians were amongst those killed and least 19 people more were wounded, the presidential palace said in a statement.

The blast was large enough to shatter windows in nearby buildings. It appeared the bomb was in a parked vehicle and was remotely detonated, Zalmai Ayubi, another government spokesperson, said.

"[The] explosion took place near a busy shopping area of [the] city," Kandahar province's media office said on its official Twitter feed.

No one immediately claimed responsibility.

In 2011, fighting in Afghanistan killed more than 3,000 civilians, the United Nations said on Saturday. It was the fifth year in a row that the number of civilian deaths had risen.

Suicide attacks carried out by insurgents and roadside mines were the biggest killers of non-combatants, the UN
report said. 

"Once more, enemies of the people of Afghanistan showed, by launching such a terrorist attack in a crowded place in Kandahar city, their enmity toward the innocent people of Afghanistan," President Hamid Karzai said in the palace's statement.

Source: Agencies