By Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers –
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomber killed an Afghan police officer and a young girl Monday in the restive southern city of Kandahar, local officials said.
A second police officer and three civilians were wounded, said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the governor’s office.
The car bomber targeted a police checkpoint, but the blast was so powerful that a nearby house collapsed, killing the child.
The attack came a day after a roadside bomb in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province demolished a pickup, killing its four civilian occupants.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack. A spokesman said it was carried out by “a hero martyrdom-seeking holy warrior.”
President Hamid Karzai said, however, that those behind the attack were the enemies of the people of Afghanistan and Islam.
U.S. Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said the incident showed the insurgents’ “total disregard for the Afghan people and disdain for peace.”
“The continued killing of innocents sends an obvious message by the insurgents: The Taliban do not care who, or how many, of their fellow Afghans are killed,” Allen said.
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, and the traditional heartland of the Taliban.