Explosion rocks southern Afghan city, 2 dead

A series of blasts killed at least two civilians and wounded several others Sunday Afghanistan`s main southern city, the scene of several recent deadly attacks on police.

Updated: Oct 17, 2010, 12:17 PM IST

Kandahar: A series of blasts killed at least two civilians and wounded several others Sunday Afghanistan`s main southern city, the scene of several recent deadly attacks on police.

Helicopters patrolled above the city as NATO and
Afghan troops were deployed to seal off the attack sites.
Ambulances with sirens wailing ferried victims to local
hospitals.

In one attack, a motorised rickshaw carrying
explosives detonated behind police headquarters in the centre
of the city, said Zelmai Ayubi, spokesman for the governor of
Kandahar province. One bystander was killed and three others
wounded, Ayubi said.

On the eastern side of the city, insurgents attacked
an oil tanker with gunfire, causing it to explode. One
civilian was killed and at least two others were wounded.

A rocket fired by militants slammed into a prison
compound in the city`s west, police said. No casualties were
immediately reported.

Another explosion went off in the city`s business
district, also in the west. Details were not immediately
available.

Kandahar city has been a target for militants this
month. Two explosions killed nine people and wounded two dozen
others on October 6. Three blasts just minutes apart killed
three Afghan police officers in the city October 5.

International and Afghan troops have been ramping up
security in Kandahar city for months in an effort to grasp
control of the country`s largest southern city, where Taliban
influence is high. A series of checkpoints have been set up
around the city in an attempt to keep insurgents from entering and carrying out attacks.
Control of Kandahar, the Taliban movement`s
birthplace, is seen as key to reversing Taliban momentum in
the war. The nearly 150,000 international troops and 220,000
Afghan security forces are still struggling to gain the upper
hand against an estimated 30,000 insurgents.

The embattled south is the scene of Operation Dragon
Strike, launched last month by NATO and Afghan forces in areas
around Kandahar to flush out entrenched Taliban fighters and
destroy their strongholds.
Separately in the south, a NATO service member was
killed today by a homemade bomb, the coalition said. NATO did
not disclose the service member`s nationality or details of
the death.

Forty-five US and international troops have been
killed in Afghanistan so far this month.

PTI