Kandahar: The mayor of Kandahar, a close ally of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was assassinated in a suicide attack on Wednesday, the latest in a string of political murders in the key southern region.
The killing came two weeks after Karzai’s powerful brother was gunned down in the city and is a further setback for US-led efforts to control the Taliban’s spiritual home as foreign troops start to withdraw.
The suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his turban and killed mayor Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, who was talking to locals in the courtyard of Kandahar’s city hall, police chief Abdul Razeq told AFP.
Those involved in the talks said Hameedi had been discussing a land dispute with residents after he ordered the destruction of some illegally built homes and two children reportedly died during demolition work on Tuesday.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying that a volunteer suicide attacker had come forward after the deaths of the children, and claiming that a woman was also killed.
“In a suicide attack by a (volunteer) in Kandahar municipality, mayor Hameedi… is murdered,” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi in a text message to AFP. Kandahar, home to President Karzai’s family and scene of some of the war’s bloodiest fighting over the course of a decade is a hotbed of tribal rivalries over local influence and money. (PTI)