Asia

At least 12 dead in three Afghanistan bomb attacks

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At least 12 people, including several children, have died in a series of bomb attacks in the south of Afghanistan, officials say.

Two blasts were reported within minutes of each other at a busy road junction in Kandahar. At least seven people died, including three policeman.

Earlier a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle approached a Kandahar police check post.

When he was challenged, he detonated his explosives, killing five people.

One of the dead was a police officer, officials say.

Police had set up checkpoints across Kandahar amid intelligence reports of a possible attack by insurgents, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary reports from Kabul.

The attacks have shattered Kandahar's relative peace of the past few months.

Observers say they highlight the fragile security situation in Kandahar, which is the birthplace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The attacks came as the Taliban said they had reached a preliminary agreement to set up a political office, possibly in Qatar, as part of Western plans to end the war.

The office is seen by some as a key step towards ending the 10-year-long conflict in Afghanistan.