A homicide bombing ripped through a crowded market in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing 17 people and wounding 47, a hospital official said.

The homicide bomber carrying explosives walked into the market opposite a police station in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern Helmand province, and blew himself up, said Ghulam Muheddin, the provincial governor's spokesman.

Hanif Khan, a local hospital official, said the blast killed 17 persons and wounded 47, six critically.

Among the dead were the owner of the market, a former Lashkar Gah police chief; his son; and a nephew, said Hayatullah Khan, a security guard at the scene.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan