Taliban suicide bomb hits Afghan governor’s complex
KABUL — A Taliban suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up during a meeting at a provincial governor’s compound yesterday in northern Afghanistan, killing six people, including two German soldiers, and wounding the top German commander in the country, officials said.
The bomber detonated his explosives vest in a room in the governor’s office complex in Takhar province where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition, said Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, a spokesman for the governor. The governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, suffered burns to his head, hands, and back.
“What we know is the guy who carried out the attack had a police uniform on,’’ Tawhedi said. “How he entered the meeting room and why he was not searched, we don’t know.’’
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the late-afternoon attack — the latest in an uptick of violence as the Islamic extremist movement has launched its spring offensive. The effectiveness of the Taliban’s campaign could affect the size of President Obama’s planned drawdown of US troops in July.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it was part of the insurgency’s assassination campaign against high-ranking government officials. The bombing was also meant to undercut a military offensive the Afghan National Army was planning to launch in the north, the Taliban spokesman said.
Germany’s defense minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said last night in Berlin that two German soldiers were killed and three wounded, including General Markus Kneip, the NATO force’s commander for northern Afghanistan.
Four Afghans were also killed. Among them was General Daud Daud, police commander in northern Afghanistan, said Dr. Hassain Basech, health director of the province. Daud was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an Al Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the US invasion.
Also killed were provincial police chief General Shah Jahan Noori, a secretary to the governor, and one of Daud’s bodyguards, the health director said.
In addition to the governor, nine other Afghans were wounded — a cameraman working in the governor’s office and eight Afghan soldiers. The health director said a number of NATO troops were also wounded and were taken to a military base.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, calling it a “barbaric act of terror.’’
Violence has been on the rise in the north, where the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and fighters from other militant factions are known to be hiding. NATO has sent more troops to the north and has been pushing harder into militant-held areas.