Afghan Army Jeep Explodes in Government Compound

A governor in eastern Afghanistan escaped an apparent assassination attempt Wednesday when a car bomb exploded outside his offices, while suspected Taliban gunmen killed a judge in the west, officials said.

No casualties were caused in the explosion that occurred shortly after 9 a.m. in the eastern Nangarhar provincial capital of Jalalabad, 75 miles east of Kabul, said police chief Abdul Basir Salangi.

Salangi said a bomb had been planted in an Afghan army jeep used by the assistant head of the province's administration department.

The jeep was parked inside the governor's compound near the car of Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai at about 5 a.m. and was timed to explode about four hours later, he said.

"Fortunately the governor arrived at work earlier than the 9 a.m. time he usually arrives," Salangi said. "From the preliminary evidence, it seems to have been an assassination attempt as the jeep was parked near the governor's car."

Salangi said the jeep driver was detained for questioning but was not regarded as a suspect.

Sherzai was an influential warlord from the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar who captured that southern city from the former hard-line regime during the U.S.-backed military campaign to oust the Taliban after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Meanwhile in the far west of the country, Farah's deputy civil court judge, Sheikh Mohammed, was shot dead after he left a Sunni Muslim mosque following evening prayers Tuesday in Farah city, about 465 miles southwest of Kabul.

"Two Taliban militants on motorcycles waited for Judge Mohammed as he left the mosque in Farah city and shot him dead before speeding away," Gov. Izadullah Wasfi told The Associated Press.

Radical remnants of the toppled Taliban regime have been targeting Afghan officials and U.S.-led coalition forces in an incessant campaign of violence aimed at derailing this war-ravaged country's American-backed government.