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Kandahar Explosion Injures at Least 18

In Afghanistan, at least 18 people are injured, seven seriously, from a bomb explosion in the southern city of Kandahar.

Witnesses at the scene say the bomb was rigged to a bicycle. It caused heavy damage to several surrounding buildings.

Following the blast, coalition forces helped rush the injured to a nearby medical facility.

Provincial Police Chief Mohammed Hasham says he believes the bombing was the work of anti-government insurgents, probably including forces loyal to the country's former Taleban regime.

He told VOA that the location of the attack, in the busy center of the city, was likely chosen because of its proximity to local government offices and to hotels frequented by journalists.

The explosion marks the third major violent incident in Kandahar city in less than a month, following a grenade attack on a U.S. military vehicle and a bombing next to the local United Nations compound.

This latest violence comes as Afghanistan prepares to convene a grand council, or loya jirga, to approve a new national constitution.

The loya jirga is scheduled to begin Wednesday, although transitional Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the opening date may be delayed.

He did not cite a reason for the possible postponement.