Kandahar: A suicide attack killed at least six people on Thursday at Kandahar international airport in southern Afghanistan, one of the deadliest flashpoints in a 10-year war, police said.

"Six civilians were killed in a suicide attack close to the gates of Kanadahar airport today," said Kandahar police chief General Abdul Razeq.

The Taliban, the militia leading a 10-year insurgency against the Afghan government and tens of thousands of NATO troops, claimed responsibility.

Spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the target was "the bullet-proof vehicles of foreign forces".

The army commander for southern Afghanistan, General Hamid Wardak, said earlier that three civilians died in the attack, which was "on foreign special forces at the entrance gate of Kandahar international airport".

A spokesman for NATO forces in Afghanistan said there were no casualties among foreign troops in what he called a "vehicle-born suicide attack".

The Taliban, toppled in late 2001 in a US-led invasion, are waging an insurgency against the government and US-led forces, which have some 130,000 troops in the impoverished and war-ravaged country.

The hardliners announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar, widely seen as a move towards peace negotiations with Washington and its Western allies.

A key US demand for any progress in negotiations is that the Taliban abandon violence and break with Al-Qaeda and other "terrorist" groups.

Kandahar is the spiritual capital of the Taliban and southern Afghanistan is a key battleground that continues to see persistent violence despite a surge of US troops in 2010 and 2011.

(Agencies)