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Powerful blast near Kandahar police HQ

Reuters/Win McNamee

A powerful explosion went off close to police headquarters in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Saturday. The blast, in an alley about 200 metres from the police HQ, created a large crater, damaged police vehicles and injured an unknown number of people.

Heavy dust and thick smoke shrouded the area and roads near the scene of the blast were cordoned off by police, local TV reported.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Kandahar and the neighbouring province of Helmand are the most insurgency-hit in the country.

A roadside bomb in Helmand killed 15 civilians and wounded four on Friday.

Provincial officials blamed Taliban insurgents.

The number of Afghan civilians killed in the conflict rose by a third in the six months of 2010 to1,271, the UN said in August.