KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a provincial governor's convoy Saturday near a hospital in southern Afghanistan, killing a doctor, officials said.
Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, who escaped the assassination attempt, said a car bomb exploded as his convoy was passing the hospital en route to an event at a nearby school in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. He said the doctor was killed, and two of his bodyguards and a student from the school were wounded.
"I'm safe and healthy," he told The Associated Press in a telephone call. "The target was my vehicle, but I survived."
Zabul is located next to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and shares a volatile border with Pakistan.
Provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Rooghlawanay said earlier that the attacker was a suicide bomber on foot who detonated his explosives as the governor was on his way to visit the hospital.
Taliban and other insurgents have stepped up attacks targeting Afghan officials in a bid to undermine confidence in President Hamid Karzai's government as U.S. and other foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.
The U.N. has expressed concern about the spike in targeted killings as the Afghan government works to assert control beyond its seat in Kabul.