(Updates toll, adds background)
KHOST, Afghanistan, Feb 18 (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb attack on a police checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan on Friday killed at least nine people and injured dozens, health and police officials said.
The majority of the dead were civilians, among them three women, said Abdul Hakim Esaaqzai, chief of police for Khost province. Health official Amir Badshah said 30 people had been wounded and many taken to hospitals.
The attack targeted a checkpoint at the start of the main road to neighbouring Paktia province. Police at the checkpoint identified the attacker as a suicide bomber and shot at him, but not in time to prevent the detonation, Esaaqzai said.
At least one policeman was killed in the blast.
Khost, which borders Pakistan, is an insurgent stronghold where government control is largely limited to urban centres.
Violence across Afghanistan in 2010 reached its worst level since the Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, with civilian and military casualties at record levels. (Reporting by Kamal Sadat, Anwarullah Mohabat and Elyas Wahdat; Writing by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Robert Birsel) (If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)