Story highlights

NEW: President Karzai condemns the attack, calling it a "cowardly act of terror"

A suicide bomber detonates a car packed with explosives outside a police station, witnesses say

There are conflicting reports about the number of casualties

CNN  — 

A suicide car bomb exploded Sunday in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar City, killing as many as nine people and wounding 19, President Hamid Karzai’s office said.

The bomber detonated a car packed with explosives about noon, officials said.

Karzai released a statement strongly condemning the attack, saying, “The desperate enemy must understand that resorting to such cowardly acts of terror can not help achieve their despicable designs.”

A vehicle filled with explosives went off close to Shaheedan square in Kandahar, the statement said.

There were conflicting reports about the number of dead and wounded.

Earlier, the interior ministry reported the incident killed seven and wounded nine, though it did not provide details about the possible target of the explosion. Witnesses said the blast occurred near a police headquarter building.

The ministry said three policemen and six civilians were wounded.

But Dr. Abdul Qayum Pokla, the director of the main Kandahar hospital, said the hospital received at least 21 wounded, including seven police officers.

Pokla also said that of the seven killed, five were police officers.

CNN’s Masoud Popalzai contributed to this report.