KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – A Taliban suicide bomber killed three civilians in southern Afghanistan on Saturday when he detonated explosives in a failed attempt to target foreign forces fighting the Islamist insurgents, officials said.
The attacker prematurely triggered a bomb packed inside his vehicle before he got close to an international military convoy on patrol in the Daman district of Kandahar province.
"A suicide bomber driving a Toyota sedan detonated his vehicle in Daman on the road from Kandahar city to Spin Boldak (on the border with Pakistan)," Javed Faisal, the Kandahar governor's spokesman, told AFP.
"The target of the suicide bomber was foreign forces, but it exploded prematurely. Three civilians were killed -- two children and a woman. Seven men were wounded."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred three or four kilometres (two or three miles) from Kandahar airport, a major base for US forces in Afghanistan.
Mujahid claimed 15 US soldiers were killed, but the insurgents routinely exaggerate death tolls.
The NATO-led military coalition said it was aware of the attack but had no further details.
Kandahar is seen as the spiritual home of the Taliban and is also the birthplace of President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since a US-led invasion ousted the Islamist militia in 2001.
In another sign of instability ahead of the withdrawal of 87,000 international combat troops next year, four Afghans were killed on Friday in a Taliban suicide attack on the US consulate in the western city of Herat.