Bomb explodes outside hotel
Kabul - At least four civilians were killed on Tuesday by a suicide car bomb outside a hotel used by foreigners in Kabul's main diplomatic area and across the street from the home of a former vice president.
The blast took place as President Hamid Karzai was expected to attend an anti-corruption conference elsewhere in the Afghan capital.
The wreckage of the bomber's car was in flames outside the gate to the Heetal Hotel in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, sending thick black smoke into the sky.
The home of former vice president Ahmad Zia Massoud, brother of late anti-Soviet guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, was heavily damaged. A police source said the former vice president may have been the intended target.
The fortified Heetal was also damaged, but not as heavily as nearby houses in the district, which is home to government officials, international organisations and diplomatic residences.
Windows were blown out of many houses and parts of a roof of one house had collapsed.
Karzai and many diplomats and officials were due to attend the conference at the foreign ministry in another part of town.
Ahmad Bilal, an officer of the National Directorate of Security, confirmed at the scene that the blast was caused by a suicide car bomb and said four civilians had been killed.