Afghanistan: Nine dead in Kandahar car bomb attack

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Media captionThe aftermath of the deadly bomb blast in Kandahar

A car bomb attack on police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar has killed at least nine people, including five policemen.

Some 19 others were wounded in the blast in a car park outside the police building, the local government said.

The blast - thought to have been caused by explosives hidden inside a parked car and detonated remotely - was strong enough to shatter nearby windows.

No-one has yet said that they carried out the attack.

Innocent people

The explosion "took place near a busy shopping area", the provincial government said on its official Twitter feed.

"It was a heavy explosion, it shook windows. There was gun fire for few minutes afterwards," local resident Shaedanoo Chowk told the BBC.

Children were reported to be among the dead and wounded.

"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's office said in statement.

Kandahar is Afghanistan's second largest city and hometown to Mr Karzai, as well as being the birthplace of the Taliban movement.

The city has witnessed brutality and bloodshed over the years and the police headquarters has been attacked before, says BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul.

But recent improvements in security have led to a recent lull in violence, bringing hope to the city's residents, our correspondent adds.

The United Nations said on Saturday that civilian deaths in Afghanistan had risen for the fifth year in a row - with 3,021 deaths in 2011 compared with 2,790 in 2010 and 2,412 in 2009.