Provincial Governor, 19 Others Die in Afghan Blast
Local police say a powerful bomb blast in northern Afghanistan has killed at least 20 people, including a provincial governor. A local government spokesman says at least 30 people were wounded in the explosion.
Authorities and witnesses say that dozens of worshipers were offering Friday prayers in a mosque in northern Takhar province when the powerful bomb exploded.
The governor of neighboring Kunduz province, Mohammad Omar, was among those killed in the explosion. Local officials say the slain Afghan leader had come to Takhar to visit his native home and was apparently the target of the bomb attack.
Faiz Mohammad Tawheedi is a spokesman for the local government.
He says the bomb was planted under a pray mat and it went off as soon as Governor Omar entered the mosque to join other worshipers. The spokesman says young students were among the wounded.
The northern Afghan province has witnessed frequent attacks by Taliban militants in recent days. Early this week, Afghan and NATO-led international forces conducted ground as well as air raids on militant hideouts in Takhar, killing at least 16 insurgents.
NATO says that a top Taliban commander identified as Maulawi Jawadullah was also among the dead. He was accused of organizing deadly ambushes, roadside bombings and other attacks against Afghan police and soldiers.
Friday's bomb blast is being described as the most serious attack since Afghanistan held parliamentary elections last month. Militant attacks aimed at disrupting the polls left at least 17 people dead across the country.
The U.S led war against Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan has entered its tenth year.
But despite the presence of some 150,000 foreign forces, the Taliban-led insurgency has spread to parts of Afghanistan that until recently were seen as relatively peaceful. The number of foreign troops killed in militant attacks and war-related activities this year has been the highest since the start of the war in Afghanistan nine years ago.
Article by Ayaz Gul, VOA News