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Taliban Blamed For Dostum Assassination Attempt

Abdul Rashid Dostum (file photo) 21 January 2005 -- A spokesman for the Taliban says the hard-line Islamic militia carried out the suicide bombing that narrowly missed killing one of the most powerful militia commanders in northern Afghanistan, ethnic Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The bombing yesterday in Dostum's hometown of Shiberghan wounded more than 20 people, including at least several who were reported seriously injured.

Abdul Latif Hakimi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said the attack was retaliation for Dostum's role in the killing of Taliban prisoners in northern Afghanistan during the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001 that led to the toppling of the Taliban regime.

Dostum and police said they suspected the Al-Qaeda network may have been behind the attack.

Dostum was deputy defense minister in Afghanistan's transitional government, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai did not appoint Dostum to the cabinet after Karzai's victory in the October 2004 election.