KANDAHAR, Afghanistan â€” In the second serious attack in southern Afghanistan in two days, a suicide bomber set off an explosion on Monday as he drove his car near a convoy of Canadian troops on a crowded border town street, killing 36 civilians and wounding 38.
The governor of Kandahar Province, Asadullah Khaled, called the attack a cataclysm for the Afghan people. The blast wounded three or four Canadian soldiers, part of the NATO security force in Afghanistan, but the brunt of the explosion was borne by civilians, mainly street vendors and people selling fruit from pushcarts beside the road, he said. Several shops caught fire in the town, Spinbaldak, which is 60 miles southeast of Kandahar and is the main border crossing to Pakistan, he said.
A day before the attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a dogfighting festival in a district just north of the city of Kandahar, in the worst suicide bombing in Afghanistan since 2001. The death toll from that attack has risen to 100, Mr. Khaled said. Among the dead were 36 local police officers, part of an auxiliary force being trained to help keep the peace in their district.
â€œThe enemy of Islam, the enemy of Afghans, are trying to sabotage the peace process,â€ Mr. Khaled said while visiting the family of a local police commander, Abdul Hakim Jan, who was killed Sunday. Referring to the insurgents, Mr. Khaled said, â€œWe need to be united and eradicate them at the root.â€
At a news briefing later in the day in the city of Kandahar, Mr. Khaled lashed out at Canadian forces, saying they had patrolled in crowded places when there was a known suicide bomb threat in the area.
He said that the Afghan security forces had received information that a suicide bombing had been planned and had warned the Canadian military.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the attack. Mr. Ahmadi said the bomber was named Abdul Rahman and was from Kandahar Province. He denied that the attack had wounded or killed any civilians.