South Asia

Six children die in Afghan bomb blast

An Afghan policeman keeps watch at the site of a blast in Dand district of Kandahar province
Image caption A second blast nearby injured two police officers

A suicide bomber who targeted a vehicle in Afghanistan carrying a government official killed six children nearby, officials said.

District government chief Ahmadullah Nazak, who was being escorted to work in a police vehicle in Kandahar province, survived the attack.

A second blast followed, wounding two police officers.

Meanwhile, an advisor to President Hamid Karzai was injured in a separate attack in Jalalabad.

The explosion in a market in Dand district, west of Kandahar city, wounded Mr Nazak's bodyguard, who was in the car - but Mr Nazak escaped unharmed.

"I dropped down. Then I heard a second explosion," Mr Nazak said. "It hit our car, but it didn't injure me."

Taliban suspected

Officials said six children had died in the blast.

The second bomb exploded after police arrived at the scene and injured two officers, according to district criminal investigations chief Mohammad Hussain.

No group has so far said it carried out the attack, but correspondents say it fits the pattern of Taliban attacks targeting southern Afghan officials.

Kandahar is at the centre of Nato's plans to end nearly nine years of insurgency.

Later, in Jalalabad city's second district, a bomber targeted the vehicle of Wahidullah Sabaoun, President Karzai's adviser on tribal affairs.

Mr Sabaoun, another tribal elder, and seven other people were injured.

Hospital officials said Mr Sabaoun's life was not in danger, but that three others were in a critical condition.

Security officials in the eastern province of Nangarhar told the BBC that explosives packed in a rickshaw had gone off close to a busy school.

On Sunday, six Afghan civilians died when the minibus they were travelling in struck a roadside bomb in Kandahar.

The Taliban have stepped up their attacks since last year. In December US President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan.