Roadside Bomb Targets Afghan Provincial Governor; 6 Policemen Killed in Other Violence

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 in Jaji district, 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.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

Gov. Gulab Mangalsaid 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 homicide bomber. The governor of Helmand was also apparently targeted late last month when a homicide bomber attacked the governor's compound, missing the governor but killing 18 people.

"It is difficult to prevent such attacks, especially against the governors, because governors cannot sit still in their offices," Mangal said. "All the time they need to go out and meet with the people, hear about their problems and find solutions for them."

In the southern province of Kandahar, meanwhile, a homicide 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 homicide 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.