A man driving a horse-drawn cart laden with explosives detonated the cache Thursday outside a guest house frequented by foreigners in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing at least eight people including a child, police said.
Security guards at the Continental guest house became suspicious of the man and opened fired on him when he failed to heed their instructions, deputy provincial police chief Fazel Ahmad Sharzad told reporters at the scene. Injured, the man then detonated his explosives, Sharzad said.
Some of the eight who died were in a car that was passing by the area. The car was destroyed, causing police to initially suspect the explosion was caused by a car bomb.
Four other people, including a guest house security guard, were injured in the blast, which occurred near the provincial council office in Kandahar, the capital of Kandahar province, a stronghold of Taliban insurgents.
"The target of the suicide attacker is unknown. We are investigating," Sharzad said.
The blast damaged several rooms and shattered windows at the guest house, but Sharzad said all the damaged rooms had been unoccupied.
Also Thursday, the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan said a Canadian soldier was killed in the southern part of the country.
A statement from the International Security Assistance Force said the serviceman was killed by a homemade bomb on Wednesday. It did not give further details.
In Paktika province, two civilians were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, said Jahanzid Slimankhil, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
ISAF also reported that joint Afghan-international operations detained more than a dozen suspected militants throughout the country, including a suspected Taliban commander in Kandahar.