Helmand Governor Escapes Bomb Attack En Route To Karzai Funeral
A bomb attack in southern Afghanistan has targeted the motorcade of a key Afghan governor who was traveling to the funeral of President Hamid Karzai's brother, wounding two Afghan troops.
Afghan officials say the governor of Helmand Province, Gulab Mangal, and the provincial chief of intelligence escaped unhurt from the attack in Kandahar city -- allowing them to travel on to attend the funeral of Ahmad Wali Karzai.
The bomb was detonated by remote-control in Kandahar's Maiwand district. NATO troops also discovered two mines next to a road taken by the funeral convoy in Kandahar and detonated them using controlled explosions.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has led thousands of mourners under heavy security in southern Afghanistan to the funeral of his younger half-brother, who was assassinated on July 12.
Ahmad Wali Karzai was shot dead at his home in Kandahar by a family security guard. A powerful provincial official, he had long been accused of amassing a fortune from the drugs trade, intimidating rivals, and having links to the CIA, all charges that he strongly denied.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination, saying the killing was one of its "greatest achievements."
In the United States, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration sent its condolences to Karzai's family and the State Department condemned the murder, with department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying that "violence is never the answer for getting to democratic progress that we all seek."
"And as you probably know," Nuland added, "the U.S. has worked with Governor Karzai as we work with governors around the country to try to make common cause to end corruption, to eradicate the drug trade, etc."
General David Petraeus, the outgoing top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country would support the government “in every possible way to bring justice to those involved.”
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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