Afghan Blast Injures Four

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A roadside explosion hit a Canadian Embassy vehicle in the Afghan capital Monday, wounding one Canadian passenger, officials said. Witnesses said three Afghan civilians were also hurt.

Officials said it appeared that the blast, which left a five-foot-wide crater beside the busy road in eastern Kabul, was caused by a remote-controlled bomb.

Afghan police cordoned off the scene as NATO (search) troops surrounded a red four-wheel drive-vehicle. Several of its windows were broken by shrapnel and a small Canadian flag could be seen on the bumper.

An official from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the victim was a male security guard. He didn't identify the man and had no information on the extent of his injuries, although witnesses said he walked unaided from the stricken vehicle.

"It looks like a main charge was placed by the side of the road" and detonated as the vehicle drove by, said Warrant Officer Neil Reeve, a member of the British contingent of the NATO force sent to investigate.

Afghani Wazir Gul, whose sedan was also caught in the blast, suffered only a small cut to his face but said three friends traveling with him were taken to the hospital, one with a serious abdominal injury.

The Jalalabad Road (search) is a bustling thoroughfare dotted with NATO and U.S. military bases as well as a major U.N. compound. The road has seen a string of bombings, including a suicide attack that killed a British soldier in January last year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's blast. However, U.S. commanders have warned that Taliban (search) insurgents may step up attacks as the harsh Afghan winter recedes.

Diplomats here also worry that warlord militias have yet to be fully disarmed and may have been involved in the kidnapping of three U.N. workers in the capital last year. All were eventually released unharmed.

While most security incidents occur near the Pakistani border, Kabul's expatriate community has been on edge since gunmen fatally shot a 41-year-old Scottish development consultant three weeks ago, the first killing of a foreign development worker in the capital since the fall of the Taliban three years ago.