A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed the deputy governor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province and wounded at least five others on Saturday, officials said.
Deputy Governor Abdul Latif Ashna was killed as he left his home in Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar province, to go to work, the governor's spokesman Zalmay Ayoubi said. The civilians wounded in the blast had been taken to hospital, he added.
An official from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kandahar, who declined to be named, confirmed Ashna had been killed in a suicide attack. No further details were immediately available.
U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry who was visiting Kandahar on Saturday condemned the death but said "it would not sap efforts to defeat the insurgency."
"The loss of a great deputy governor like this is a setback. What we've seen is consistently Afghan government leaders emerge and the people continue to rally in an effort to establish security in this province," he told journalists.
Between mid-June and mid-September, 21 people were reported to be assassinated each week, equal to three killings every day, the United Nations has said.
Last year was also the bloodiest for foreign troops in Afghanistan with 711 killed, compared to 521 for 2009. Civilians have borne the brunt, however, with more than 2,400 killed and more than 3,800 wounded last year, U.N. figures show.