Suicide car bomb explodes near UN convoy in Afghanistan

A suicide car bomb exploded near a U.N. convoy in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing the attacker but hurting no one else, officials said. The attack occurred in Kandahar city, a former Taliban stronghold, as the convoy was traveling to a nearby U.S.-led coalition base, said provincial government spokesman Dawood Ahmadi.

An Associated Press reporter saw what appeared to be parts of the body of the attacker on the road next to a severely damaged and burned U.N. four-wheel-drive vehicle. Bits of the attacker's car were scattered around the area. U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards said: "We are still verifying what has happened, but at this stage we do not have any reports of casualties."

Ahmadi said no one in the convoy was hurt because the vehicles were armored. The blast was powerful. It smashed windows nearly 100 meters (yards) from the attack site and it pushed the U.N. vehicle off the road and onto its side. Parts of Afghanistan have been wracked by a spate of suicide bombings in the past eight months, representing a new and disturbing security threat four years after the Taliban were ousted for harboring al-Qaida.

U.S. military commanders have said they are having problems countering the new tactic, and the Taliban has claimed it has a large number of volunteers willing to carry out such assaults.

Wednesday's attack was the second against the United Nations since last Friday, when rockets slammed into a UNICEF car in western Afghanistan , killing two Afghans. In other violence, rebels stopped a truck on the main Kandahar-Kabul highway Wednesday, burning it and five vehicles it was carrying, but allowing the driver to escape unhurt, said Ghulam Ravi Malakhail, a police chief in Zabul province, reports the AP.

N.U.