Kabul, Sept. 5: An attempt was made on the life of Hamid Karzai, President of the transitional Islamic government of Afghanistan, today in Kandahar.
Karzai was visiting Kandahar when, at the governor’s guesthouse, an Afghan guard opened fire on his entourage. Karzai was unhurt.
The would-be assassin was killed by the US Protection Force guarding Karzai. Three Afghan guards also died in the crossfire. The governor of Kandahar, Gul Agha, was injured in the firing but is believed to be safe.
After the assassination of Haji Qadir, the governor of Jalalabad on July 6, this is the most audacious assassination attempt that Afghanistan has witnessed in recent times.
“Kandahar is the former Taliban capital. You do not have to go too far to look for suspects,” said a keen observer of the Afghan scene.
Another political observer said Afghanistan’s southern neighbour, Pakistan, has either wanted instability in Kabul or a government that it could control. The assassination attempt on Karzai, he said, should also be viewed in this context.
Earlier today at 2.30 pm, a car bomb went off in a busy market in Kabul. While conservative estimates put the figure of the dead at 10, Afghan police sources said 18 people have died in the blast.
The terrorist had first detonated a cycle bomb to attract a crowd. Once people had gathered at the site, a car bomb was detonated, killing the onlookers.
Kabul has witnessed about half-a-dozen bomb blasts in the last three weeks. However, most of them took place late at night and there were no casualties.