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Afghan Attacks Target Mayor, Leave Police Captive

How to stop the violence? (file photo) 5 July 2004 -- The mayor of the southern Afghan Helmand Province, Haji Manaf Khan, escaped injury yesterday in the provincial capital Lashkargar after suspected Taliban fighters blew up his car.

Initial reports had suggested that Manaf Khan was seriously injured in the incident.

The attack wounded the mayor's bodyguard, and a spokesman said one suspected Taliban militant was arrested in connection with the bombing.

In a separate incident, fighters loyal to a local commander have taken over police headquarters of the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif and captured more than 100 Afghan national police, according to a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry quoted by dpa.

Reports say the takeover stemmed from a controversy over drugs between General Atta Mohammad, a powerful commander in Mazar-e Sharif, and police chief Mohammad Akbar Khakrizwar.

Each side is accusing the other of being involved in the trafficking off illegal drugs.

It is unclear when the takeover took place.

In the United States, Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai was awarded the Philadelphia Liberty Medal from a U.S. group yesterday for his leadership in the pursuit of freedom.

Karzai said the medal's $100,000 prize will go to support Afghan orphans.

(RFE/RL with agency reports)