Bomb targets Afghan governor, killing one official

Sunday, October 15, 2006

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A roadside bomb exploded outside a provincial governor's compound on Saturday -- the third attack in five weeks against a provincial leader. The governor of the eastern Afghan province was not hurt but another official was killed, police said.

Six Afghan policemen, meanwhile, died after a roadside bomb hit their convoy Friday elsewhere in eastern Afghanistan, said Gen. Anan Roufi, the police chief of Paktia province. The explosion happened near the border with Pakistan.

The governor of the eastern Laghman province escaped injury after someone placed a bomb hidden in a plastic bag in an irrigation ditch opposite the governor's compound, said Khalil Rahmani, deputy provincial police chief. It was detonated by remote control as the governor was arriving by car. About a dozen suspects were arrested, Rahmani said.

Gov. Gulab Mangal said it was the second assassination attempt against him in the last couple months.

"It is clear that whoever tries to do good work for the people of Afghanistan, they will try to kill him," Mangal said. "A clear example of this is Abdul Hakim Taniwal."

Taniwal, the former governor of Paktia province, was killed in early September by a suicide bomber. The governor of Helmand was also apparently targeted late last month when a suicide bomber attacked the governor's compound, missing the governor but killing 18 people.

In the southern province of Kandahar, meanwhile, a suicide car bomb exploded near an Afghan army convoy, injuring three soldiers, said Dawood Ahmadi, the governor's spokesman.

Late Friday, Taliban militants attacked a police patrol in Zabul province, sparking a firefight that left two police and three militants dead, said Noor Mohammad Paktin, the provincial police chief.

Also Friday, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-packed van into a NATO military patrol on a busy commercial street in Kandahar city, firing shrapnel at nearby storeowners and shoppers. One NATO soldier and eight Afghan civilians were killed.

NATO says its clashes with insurgents have decreased in recent weeks. But militants are increasingly resorting to roadside and suicide attacks in their bid to weaken the government and hit Afghan and foreign troops.

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