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Blast Outside Kabul Kills Afghan Governor


The top police official in Afghanistan's Logar Province says a remote controlled bomb planted by the Taliban has killed the province's governor and three other people. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from neighboring Pakistan that Taliban militants claimed credit for the attack.

General Mustafa Khan told reporters that Logar province governor Abdullah Wardak was killed by a bomb planted near his home just 20 kilometers outside Kabul.

He says when his vehicle turned onto the gravel road in front of his house, a remote controlled bomb exploded, killing the governor, his driver and two guards.

The governor is a former Cabinet minister in President Hamid Karzai's government and had led Afghan forces alongside U.S. troops during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. General Mustafa Khan says this was the second assassination attempt against Abdullah Wardak in recent months.

He says about two months ago enemies fixed a mine in his office, but police and coalition forces were able to defuse it. He says four people were arrested in connection with that case, but two other suspects remain at large.

Hours after Saturday's blast, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility in a phone call to reporters.

Afghanistan has experienced a surge in violence this year with frequent clashes in eastern provinces bordering Pakistan and an effort by Taliban militants to destabilize areas around Kabul.

Among many Afghans, there is also concern over coalition airstrikes blamed for killing innocent civilians.

On Friday, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry announced that three men have been arrested on charges of providing false information used in last months' controversial airstrikes in Azizabad village.

Afghan and United Nations officials say the strikes killed 90 civilians, most of them children. U.S. forces have said five to seven civilians were among about 30 militants killed in the raid, but after new evidence recently emerged top military officials have agreed to reopen the investigation into the incident.

In recent weeks residents in the village have released cell phone video footage that the locals claim shows dozens of fresh graves and the bodies of woman and children killed in the strike.
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