What’s it been, almost a week since I last posted about a muslim having spontaneous detonation syndrome?
Taliban Bomber Infiltrates Afghan-NATO Meeting, Killing Police Official and Others
KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban suicide bomber on Saturday infiltrated a heavily guarded governor’s compound in northern Afghanistan where top NATO and Afghan officials from the region were meeting, killing several people there, including the highly regarded police commander Gen. Daoud Daoud, Afghan officials said.
Two NATO soldiers and the provincial police chief, Shah Jahan Noori, were also killed, NATO officials said. Two senior officials were among the many wounded: the German commander of NATO’s force in the north, Maj. Gen. Markus Kneip, and the governor of Takhar Province, Abdul Jabar Taqwa.
The attack occurred about 4:30 p.m. when a man wearing a police uniform blew himself up during the security meeting inside the governor’s offices in Taliqan, the Takhar capital, Afghan officials said.
Maryam Kofi, a member of Parliament from Takhar, said the bomber entered the meeting as a security guard for one of the guests.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. “This was a very important security meeting and our goal was to target the meeting and we succeeded,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said by cellphone.
A former warlord in his native province of Takhar, General Daoud was admired for his role as a fighter against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s and the Taliban the following decade. As a young man he became a close confidant to the legendary Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, who died after being attacked by suicide bombers with Al Qaeda two days before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
He was named head of the northern zone police, covering nine northern provinces, about a year ago at a time when security in northern Afghanistan was steadily deteriorating. Now, his death raises concerns about stability in the region as NATO begins turning over security to Afghan forces in July.
Abdullah Abdullah, a former presidential candidate, credited General Daoud with helping to shift the momentum in the region. He inspired trust and confidence among his subordinates, “but also among the people,” Mr. Abdullah said, “because you cannot win it with police; you can only win it with your people.”
“He was my best friend for 26 years now,” Mr. Abdullah added. “He cannot be replaced.”
President Hamid Karzai, who was in Turkmenistan, said in a statement that he was “deeply grieved” by the deaths. “The martyrs of this wild attack were the true sons of this country who have been working tirelessly for the prosperity and honor of this country,” he said.
The Afghan president also offered condolences to the German government for the death of its soldiers, and he included General Kneip in his message, apparently in the belief that he had been killed.
“This general was a real friend of the Afghan people who lost his life to help the security of the Afghanistan people,” Mr. Karzai said.
The attack was the latest in which infiltrators in the Afghan security forces were able to penetrate heavily guarded government compounds and carry out attacks inside.
In one example this month, an Afghan Army soldier helped secure a uniform and fake identification for a bomber, who then blew himself up inside the national military hospital in Kabul, killing six people, according to Afghan intelligence officials.
In April, a police officer who had recently joined the force entered the tightly secured police headquarters in Kandahar city, killing the police chief, another figure who was widely admired.
Dr. Fatima Aziz, a Parliament member from Kunduz Province, which borders Takhar, called Sunday’s attack “a big failure on the part of the government and intelligence” for failing to provide adequate security for the meeting.
“It shows their inability in safeguarding the lives of high value targets for the Taliban insurgents,” she said.
Taliqan, a normally calm city of 200,000, has been rocked by unrest in recent weeks. On May 18, thousands of protesters assaulted the police headquarters and a nearby NATO base. And 12 people were killed during the first of two days of rioting that broke out in reaction to a coalition night raid that killed four people, including two women.
Among the officials who criticized the raid was the provincial police chief, Mr. Noori, who was killed in the attack on Saturday. “These kinds of operations are increasing the gap between the people and the government,” he said at the time.
On Saturday, Mr. Karzai ordered his Defense Ministry to take charge of the nighttime raids from the coalition forces. It was his most aggressive attempt yet to stem the use of such operations, which have outraged Afghans but which NATO says are critical in its fight against the Taliban.
In a statement, Mr. Karzai said that in an effort “to avoid arbitrary and uncoordinated operations by foreign forces in Afghanistan,” he had instructed his defense minister to bring the night raids under Afghan control.
What effect the order will have on NATO operations was not immediately clear. Coalition officials say Afghans already plan and lead many nighttime missions, and are always present in NATO-led operations.
NATO defended the operations in a statement on Saturday. “We know we would not have seen the gains and progress made to date without the conduct of targeted, intelligence-driven night operations,” Lt. Cmdr. Kathleen D. Sweetser said.
But she added that NATO “fully supports President Karzai’s intent to have Afghan forces increasingly in the lead for operations.”
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