A powerful blast echoed around the Afghan capital as a suicide car bomber hit a convoy of foreign military vehicles on the main road to the airport, around 500 metres from the US embassy, wounding at least 17 people. Hours earlier at least two civilians were killed when a suicide truck bomb detonated at the gate of the police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the capital of volatile Helmand province.
Afghan troops and police are battling the Taliban in the first "fighting season" since NATO ended its combat mission and left local forces to take charge of security. Today's violence came less than two days after 11 soldiers were killed in a Taliban ambush in the normally relatively peaceful western province of Herat.
"It was a suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of foreign forces in Kabul," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
A spokesman for the health ministry said initial reports showed at least 17 people were wounded in the Kabul blast, including women and children. In Helmand, provincial police spokesman Farid Ahmad Obaid told AFP the police headquarters attack left at least two civilians dead and 40 wounded.
"It was a suicide truck bomber detonating his vehicle at the gate of police headquarters," Obaid said.
Provincial police chief Nabi Jan Mullahkhil told reporters three attackers were involved.
"Two attackers were killed in the explosion while the third one was injured and as he tried to escape the police shot him," he said.
A doctor at the emergency hospital in Lashkar Gah said 40 civilians were brought to the hospital. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. But the Taliban, who launched their annual spring-summer offensive in late April, vowed nationwide attacks in what is expected to be the bloodiest summer for a decade.
After the Helmand attack a small blast hit a military vehicle in Kabul, police said, though there were no casualties.

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