Kandahar: Two powerful bombings rocked the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Thursday, killing three foreigners and three Afghan soldiers, according to President Hamid Karzai`s half brother. Meanwhile, four German soldiers were killed in fighting in the north.
NATO forces are gearing up for a major operation this summer in Kandahar — the largest city in the Taliban-ridden south and the birthplace of the hardline Islamist movement.
But the burst of violence in widely separated areas of the country underscores the reach of the Taliban beyond their southern homeland, even as the US sends more forces to ramp up the war.
The more powerful of the two explosions in Kandahar occurred after sundown when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle at the inner security barrier of a compound shared by several Western companies, according to Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president`s half brother and the main power broker in southern Afghanistan.
Karzai, chairman of the local provincial council, said he did not know the nationalities of the three foreign dead, but Britain`s domestic news agency Press Association quoted the British Foreign Office as saying it was looking into reports that several British nationals had been killed. The Ministry of Defence late Thursday ruled out that any British military personnel were victims.
At least 16 people were wounded, including one foreigner and four in critical condition, according to Dr Mohammed Hashim of the city`s Mirwais Hospital.
The blast blew out windows as far as 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) away, including those at Karzai`s home. The compound includes the offices of the international contracting company Louis Berger Group, the Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative and the aid contracting company Chemonics International.
Earlier on Thursday, a remotely detonated car bomb went off in front of the Noor Jehan Hotel, which includes the offices of several foreign news organisations, wounding eight people and shattering windows in the four-storey building.