MAIDAN SHAHR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber drove a truck to the heart of a provincial capital in Afghanistan on Friday and exploded his bomb, leveling many government and security buildings, badly damaging a prison, and leaving the governor without an office.
The bomber struck in Maidan Shahr, in Wardak Province, killing two police officers and a young woman and wounding 90 others, including police officers and civilians, officials said. Although the province has long been sharply contested, this was the first such attack on Maidan Shahr, about an hour’s drive from the capital, Kabul, residents said.
Wardak’s governor, Abdul Majid Khogyani, was keeping track of the casualties on a piece of paper as he met with police officers and elders in the courtyard of the main government compound. The blast made the buildings unusable.
“If I had been here, I and my family would have been killed,’’ said Khogyani, gesturing to a guesthouse, where he had been living.
It was among the most heavily damaged of the structures still standing.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the execution of Taliban prisoners this week by the Afghan government. However, Khogyani said he believed that his recent efforts to reconcile a number of Wardak’s villages with the government had angered the Taliban, who rely on rural support.
The bomb was so powerful that not only were windows blown out for blocks, but window and door frames close to the blast were warped and askew, some wrenched from their fittings.