Afghan district chief among 7 killed in suicide attack

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 10, 2011 13:10 hrs

Kunduz (Afghanistan), Feb 10 (DPA) A district governor in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz and six other people were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a government building, officials said.

Abdul Wahid Omarkhel, the head of Chardarah district, died on the spot when the bomber detonated his explosives-filled vest inside Omarkhel's office compound, said Abdul Rahman Aqtaash, deputy provincial police chief.

Omarkhel's bodyguard and five civilians were also killed, while five people including a policeman were injured in the blast, said Mahboobullah Sayedi, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid took responsibility for the attack, claiming that five government officials were killed, including the district chief.

Omarkhel served for several years as governor of Chardarah, which had been considered the most dangerous district in northern Afghanistan, and personally took part in numerous anti-insurgent operations in the district.

The province was long dominated by the Taliban and had seen heavy fighting.

Afghan, German, US and Belgian troops began an offensive there at the end of October. It lasted until January, military officials said, when the militants were pushed out of the districts of Chardarah, Dashti Archi and Emam Saheb.

Last month, Afghan provincial officials declared that the militants held no ground from which they could operate in Kunduz, but they have warned Taliban would resort to suicide and roadside bombings to demonstrate their continued presence in the province.

Kunduz's former provincial governor, Mohammad Omar, was killed in a suicide bombing in neighbouring Takhar province, where he was visiting his family, in October. The blast inside a mosque left around 20 other worshippers dead.

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