A suicide bomber blew himself up next to security contractors in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two Americans and five Afghans. It was the sixth suicide attack in the Kandahar region in nine days.
The bomber walked up and detonated his explosives as the men left the offices of the U.S. Protection and Investigations security company of Houston, said Rohullah Khan, a company official. The offices are near a Canadian military base in Kandahar.
Provincial police chief Asmatullah Alizai said two foreigners, four Afghan police officers and a translator were killed. Security company employee Mohammad Aszal said the two foreign victims were Americans. Three people also were wounded, Khan said.
Near-daily attacks plague Afghanistan's lawless southern provinces, the former stronghold of the ousted Taliban regime. The Kandahar region has seen six suicide bombings since Nov. 27, when two Canadian soldiers were killed in an attack.
Taliban militants have launched a record number of suicide and roadside bombs this year. A growing insurgency, especially in the country's south and east, has left close to 4,000 dead.
Despite the recent spike in suicide bombings, NATO said Wednesday that the overall number of coordinated insurgent attacks in Afghanistan has decreased.
There were 449 major attacks in November, down nearly 50 percent from 869 in September, said Brig. Richard Nugee, chief spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
As the number of attacks on NATO and Afghan troops decreased, militants have resorted to suicide bombings, Nugee told reporters in Kabul, the capital.
"By using suicide bombs, they are being forced into a desperate tactic which in the long run will work against them because the people of Afghanistan will go against them," he said.