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Suicide bomber kills 13 in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber on a motorcycle plowed into a guard post yesterday at a police headquarters in this former Taliban stronghold, killing 13 people and wounding 11 -- most of them Afghan police.

The attack in Kandahar was the latest in a series of bombings in southern Afghanistan that has raised new worries about the nascent democracy's future. The blasts may also signal that the militants, who once rarely used suicide missions, might be copying tactics of insurgents in Iraq.

The Taliban were behind the explosion, said Qari Mohammed Yousaf, a purported spokesman for the hard-line militants. His claim could not be independently verified. ''We will pursue these kind of attacks against government or coalition forces," he told the Associated Press in a phone call from an undisclosed location about an hour after the bombing.

Senior police officer Jan Mohammed said the attacker drove his motorcycle into the guard post. ''Then there was an enormous explosion," he said.

The bombing rocked an outer wall, destroyed the guard post, and wrecked several cars and motorbikes, but it failed to penetrate the buildings of the heavily guarded headquarters.

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