Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blast hits mosque during funeral service for Karzai's half-brother (AP)

Bomb exploded during funeral for Afghan president's brother

Explosives hiddern in a man's turban were detonated inside the mosque funeral service of Hamid Karzai's half brother, Ahmed Wali.

By The Associated Press
A suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden under his turban Thursday after entering a mosque here where hundreds of people had gathered to pay respects to President Hamid Karzai's half brother, who was assassinated on Tuesday.
The mosque attack killed at least three people and raised fears that Kandahar was entering a cycle of violence in the wake of the death of Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was the most powerful man in the region.
karzai - AP - July 13 2011 Afghan President Hamid Karzai, attends the burial of his half brother in his family's ancestral village of Karz, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2011.
Photo by: AP
The assassination and the mosque bombing, coming so close together, further unsettled people and increased their sense of vulnerability to attacks by the Taliban and other groups who might want to take advantage of the perceived lack of local leadership after Ahmed Wali Karzai's death.
Little new emerged Thursday about Sardar Muhammad, the man who shot Karzai to death, other than that he had run four security posts near the Karzai family's ancestral village of Karz in the Dand District. Eleven men worked for him, and they were at Ahmed Wali Karzai's house at the time of the killing, said the Kandahar police chief, General Abdul Raziq. All of them have been detained, he said.
The Taliban neither accepted nor denied responsibility for the mosque attack, raising suspicions that they were behind it, but were uncomfortable that it had occurred in a place of worship.
President Karzai, who had visited Kandahar a day earlier for his half brother's funeral and burial, had returned to the capital and was not in the mosque on Thursday, but many government officials from Kandahar and Kabul were there for the memorial service. In recent years, Kandahar has been a center for violence, but many expected that security would be so tight in the days after Ahmed Wali Karzai's death that there would be little risk in attending the service.
Raziq said the bomber seated himself next to Hikmatullah Hikmat, the chief of the Kandahar province religious council, and detonated the explosives. Hikmat and two others, including another senior imam, were killed, and 15 people were wounded, according to the Interior Ministry.
It appeared that the bomber might have entered the mosque with the clergymen, taking advantage of the cover that they provided because imams are not searched, said Haji Mohammed Ehsan, a provincial council member who was near the blast.
The chief of intelligence for Kandahar, General Mohammed Naim Momin, condemned the attack and said it violated the Pashtun legal code known as Pashtunwali.
"We respect those people who wear turbans and did not check the turban as a sign of respect, but he betrayed this respect and hid explosives in his turban," he said.
The attack came as the United Nations released a report that found the Taliban and other antigovernment groups were responsible for 80 percent of the fatal attacks on civilians.Read more....

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