Accessibility links

Breaking News

Suicide Bomb Attack Kills Afghan Commander

Afghan lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani was among those killed in the suicide attack.
Authorities in northern Afghanistan say at least 17 people have been killed -- including prominent ethnic Uzbek lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani -- by a suicide bomber who posed as a guest at a wedding reception.

The attack on July 14 took place during celebrations for the wedding of Samangani's daughter in Aybak, the capital of Samangan Province.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzia, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, says provincial intelligence chief Khan Mohammad was also killed along with an Afghan National Army division commander.

The wounded include Mohammad Eshaq Rahguzar, a member of the Afghan parliament; 606 Ansar regional police commander Sayd Ahmad Sameh, and former Sar-e Pul governor Sayd Eqbal Munib.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai denounced the attack and blamed it on "the enemies of Afghanistan," a term he often uses to describe Taliban fighters. Karzai said the targeting of innocent civilians and of Samangani, represents an attack on efforts to forge national unity.

Karzai has assigned a delegation led by Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari to investigate the bombing. Others on the delegation include representatives of the Afghan Interior Ministry, the National Directorate of Security, and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance.

Karzai also telephoned families of the victims to express condolences, saying he was praying for the injured to make a quick recovery.

Samangani was reportedly a key supporter of President Hamid Karzai in northern Afghanistan.

He was also reportedly a rival of General Abdul Rashid Dostum -- the powerful factional commander from the former Northern Alliance and one of the country's leading ethnic Uzbek politicians.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzia, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, says provincial intelligence chief Khan Mohammad was also killed.

An Afghan National Army division commander was reportedly among the dead as well.

The Taliban has denied involvement in the bombing, suggesting Samangani may have been targeted as a result of personal rivalries.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said Samangani was "an influential figure in the north and undoubtedly had enemies."

But Samangan's provincial police chief, Mohammad Khalil Andarabi, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on July 14 that Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are suspected to have been behind the bombing:

"Such an act is not done by anyone else, but terrorists -- Al -Qaeda and criminal groups," he said.

"This is not something new in Afghanistan. We have seen how [terrorists] have martyred many other important figures last year and this year in the country and the martyrdom of [Ahmad Khan Samangani] also came as a part of that [killing campaign].

"This was a suicide attack and the head and [body parts] of the attacker were [found] at the scene of the incident."

Samangani was considered to have been an influential warlord, who rose to prominence as a mujahedin leader who resisted the Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s.

He became a member of the Afghan parliament in 2011.

The attack on July 14 comes a day after a prominent female Afghan politician was killed by a bomb attack in the eastern province of Laghman.

Hanifa Safi, the provincial head of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, was driving through Laghman's provincial capital, Mehtar Lam, when a bomb that apparently had been attached to her car exploded.

Safi was known as a leading advocate for improving the treatment of women in Afghanistan.

The Taliban also denied involvement in Safi's death. But an Afghan official in Kabul directly blamed the Taliban for her death.

The United Nations has condemned Safi's assassination as "an outrage."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.