In central Kabul, an attacker detonated his explosive-laden vehicle in the fortified diplomatic enclave, killing three security guards and five civilians. A Taliban spokesman denied any involvement in the attack.
"As a result of the suicide attack today, four men and four women were martyred," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
President Hamid Karzai said the blast took place near the residence of his former first vice president Ahmad Zia Massoud, who was unharmed. He said two of Massoud's guards were among those killed.
The car bomb exploded near the Heetal hotel in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, where several embassies and international organizations are located.
"Our office is about a half-kilometre away from the blast site, but the explosion was so big that it broke all the glass," said Abdul Haseeb, an employee for a construction company.
In southern province of Helmand, a suicide bomber riding on an explosive-laden motorbike killed two Afghan soldiers and wounded two others in the province's Sangin district, Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said.
"Two Afghan national army soldiers were martyred and two others were wounded," he said, adding that there were also "casualties among the foreign forces," but did not provide more details.
More than 9,000 British soldiers and hundreds of US Marines are deployed to the province as part of more than 110,000 NATO-led international troops currently stationed in the war-torn country.
NATO military spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.
In the south-eastern province of Paktia, four Afghans and one Nepalese worker were killed by a bomb in Gardez, according to Ruhollah Samoon, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The blast inside the office of an organization assisting the provincial government was caused by explosives hidden inside a container and remotely detonated, he said.
Attacks on foreign workers have forced the United Nations in Kabul to withdraw hundreds of its international staff from Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in Gardez, but denied that Taliban fighters or their allied groups were behind the bombing in Kabul.
"It was not carried out by our friends," he said.
The Kabul explosion created a crater in the road and destroyed two two-storey buildings. Windows on nearby buildings were shattered and a cloud of smoke was seen billowing from the area for several hours.
Salem Hasas, a former Kabul police chief, was among those wounded, according to his neighbour Ahmad Zameer, who reported seeing the former commander at the scene of the attack.
Two of Hasas's daughters were among those killed while his son and wife were also wounded, Shir Agha, a relative said.
Six workers of an Indian technology company were also injured, but their nationalities were not immediately known, officials said.
"When the blast took place, I was some 30 metres away from the site," said Mohammad Haroon, a worker for a non-governmental organization who was supervising labourers at a nearby park.
"There was a big fire that went up to 50 metres into the sky." dpa fp se im ls tl
- Deutsche Presse Agentur
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