At least five people died and 20 were wounded by a suicide attack Saturday in front of a bank branch in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, authorities said.

The attack occurred at the doors of a Kabul Bank branch where dozens of people, mostly government employees, were entering to withdraw their salaries, officials cited by the local AIP news agency said.

The officials said that among the victims were civilians and police and that several of the wounded are in critical condition.

The attack took place in the early morning, but by noon no armed group had claimed responsibility for it.

The birthplace of the Taliban movement in the mid-1990s, the province of Kandahar figures among the principal bastions of the insurgents and is at the heart of the most violent regions in Afghanistan.

This latest attack comes at one of the bloodiest moments of the Afghan conflict, as NATO troops gradually withdraw and transfer security to the local army across the Asian nation. EFE