Suicide attack kills 8 in Kabul (9 images)

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- An explosion Tuesday near the home of former Afghan Vice President Ahmad Zia Massoud in Kabul killed eight people but Massoud was unharmed, authorities said. The blast also wounded 40 others, CNN reported.

The attack came a day after militants killed 15 police officers at checkpoints in two Afghan provinces.

A BBC report called the latest incident a suicide bomb attack. It occurred near a hotel in the Wazir Akbar Khan district in the Afghan capital, home to several aid agencies and embassies.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was quoted as saying two bodyguards were among those killed.

The explosion went off shortly before Karzai inaugurated a three-day conference on corruption. Karzai is under pressure from Western allies to crack down on rampant government corruption.

Massoud, now an opposition leader, is the brother of anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who died in a suicide bomb attack in 2001.

The New York Times, quoting the Afghan Interior Ministry, said those killed included four women.

A Massoud aide was quoted as saying the former vice president was unharmed. The aide said the target of the attack may have been the Heetal Hotel, which is frequented by foreigners, the Times reported.

There have been a number of attacks in Kabul in recent weeks including a Taliban assault on a U.N. guesthouse in October that killed five U.N. workers and three others.

Updated: Dec. 15, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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Afghan cecurity personnel look at the scene of a suicide attack near a guesthouse that catered to foreigners on December 15, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The suicide attack killed eight people and wounded another 40 according to interior ministry officials. UPI/Hossein Fatemi
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