KABUL, Afghanistan – A homicide bomber blew himself up at the governor's compound in southern Helmand province on Tuesday, killing eight people, including two civilians, officials said.
Gov. Mohammed Daud was not at his office at the time of the blast, which also damaged two vehicles parked inside the compound in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, said his spokesman, Ghulam Muhiddin. The bomber was on foot.
Six policemen and two civilian men were killed and eight police were wounded, said Ahmadullah Khan, a doctor at Lashkar Gah's hospital.
A purported Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the blast in a phone call to The Associated Press. He said the bomber was an Afghan by the name of Mullah Famiullah.
In the country's east, meanwhile, four militants and a teenage girl were killed early Tuesday in a raid by Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces, the military said.
The suspects opened fire at their village home in Khost province after soldiers demanded they surrender, the military said.
Four "military-aged males" and a 13-year-old girl were killed, a coalition statement said. An 8-year-old girl was wounded. No Afghan or coalition forces were hurt.
The military said in its statement that "credible information" indicated the compound was a refuge for militants. It said it was investigating the civilian casualties.
In a rare video message, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a renegade Afghan warlord allied with the Taliban, claimed that American troops will be forced out of Afghanistan like the Soviets before them.
The leader of the Hezb-e-Islami militant group also touted the Republican Party defeat in last month's midterm elections as a victory for militants fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"It seems that every bullet that mujahedeen had fired toward the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan has turned into a vote against Bush," Hekmatyar said in the undated video statement received by AP Television News in Pakistan.
"There is no doubt that is a great victory and success for Afghan and Iraqi mujahedeen," he said. "I am convinced that the fate Soviet Union faced is awaiting America as well."
The bespectacled and bearded Hekmatyar, who wore a neat black turban, spoke in an undisclosed location in front of a rattan backdrop. He was wrapped in a light gray shawl.
It was not clear where or when the three-minute video was made.
Hezb-e-Islami is active in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border where U.S. forces are deployed. Western security officials suspect Hekmatyar is hiding in the border area.
"Very soon we will see that, God willing, American troops will leave Afghanistan and Iraq with their heads bowed down," Hekmatyar said in the video.
Hekmatyar was a leader of the mujahedeen that fought the Soviet occupation of the 1980s and was briefly Afghan prime minister during the civil war of the early 1990s that cost tens of thousands of lives.