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Afghan Commander Unhurt In Assassination Attempt

Abdul Rashid Dostum (file photo) 20 January 2005 -- Afghanistan's powerful former military commander Abdul Rashid Dostum has escaped unharmed an apparent assassination bid.

Reports said a man with explosives hidden beneath his clothes blew himself up after he was prevented by bodyguards from approaching Dostum after prayers today in the northern town of Sheberghan.

A doctor at the local hospital said 25 people were injured in the explosion and that five of them were in serious condition.

"There were 25 people injured in this attack. Five of them are in serious condition and they are in our emergency operation room. Our surgeons are working to save these people. Besides the suicide bomber himself, nobody else was killed [at the scene of the attack]," Dr. Arif said.

Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek former general, helped U.S. forces oust the Taliban more than three years ago. He was an unsuccessful candidate in last year's presidential election, which was won by Hamid Karzai.