Suicide blast kills mayor of Afghanistan's Kandahar

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2011 2:44 AM
Suicide blast kills mayor of Afghanistan's Kandahar

By Ismail Sameem

KANDAHAR (Reuters) - The mayor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar city was killed in a suicide bomb attack on Wednesday, officials said, just two weeks after the controversial and powerful brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated in the same city.

Mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamidi was killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a corridor near Hamidi's office, said Zalmay Ayoubi, the spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor.

"It appears the bomber was carrying the bomb in his turban," Ayobi said.

Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Razaq said the mayor was meeting some elders from a district of Kandahar city when one of them got close to the mayor and detonated a bomb hidden in his turban.

Hamidi's death comes at a time when there is a dangerous power vacuum in volatile Kandahar province, the Taliban's birthplace and a focus of recent efforts by a surge of U.S. troops to turn the tide against the insurgency.

Karzai's brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, one of the most powerful and controversial men in southern Afghanistan, was assassinated by a trusted family security guard at his home in Kandahar city on July 12.

At a funeral service for Ahmad Wali Karzai, a suicide attacker who appeared to have concealed his explosives inside a turban killed a senior cleric and at least four other people in Kandahar.

Kandahar was the site of over half of all targeted killings in Afghanistan between April and June, found a U.N. report.

(Reporting by Ismail Sameem; writing by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathon Burch and Sugita Katyal)