KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A massive car bomb attack on the governor's compound in southern Helmand province on Wednesday killed at least seven people and wounded 43, officials said. The governor's spokesman was among several bureaucrats hurt in the attack in the volatile southern city of Lashkar Gah.

A suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives at the back wall of the Helmand governor's compound and the adjacent residence of the head of the provincial council, provincial police chief Nabi Jan Mullahkheil said.

Helmand governor Mohammad Nahim Balouch was not at the compound at the time of the attack.

Mullahkheil said Omar Zwak, the governor's spokesman, was in his office when the blast occurred and was hospitalized with serious wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Other wounded government officials included the district governor of Nad Ali, and the provincial agriculture and media directors, said Lashkar Gah director of public health Nimatullah Ghafari.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. Taliban insurgents have been under pressure from an army offensive in northern Helmand and appear to be retaliating with attacks on Lashkar Gah.

Suicide attacks and ambushes have taken a heavy toll in recent weeks in districts where the army's anti-insurgent effort is most intense, as well as in Lashkar Gah.

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