A bomb in a mosque killed a provincial governor Tuesday in the highest-profile assassination in recent months, part of an intensified campaign to intimidate Afghanistan’s administration as it prepares for elections and the withdrawal of foreign troops after 12 years of war.
The bomb killed Gov. Arsallah Jamal of eastern Logar province as he delivered a speech at the main mosque in the provincial capital of Puli Alam to mark a Muslim holiday. The attack also wounded 15 people, five of them critically, said his spokesman, Din Mohammad Darwesh.
Jamal was a close confidant and adviser to President Hamid Karzai, who strongly condemned that bombing as an attack “against Islam.”
“Terrorists and the Taliban working in the name of Islam carry out attacks that result in the killing of innocent Muslims. Surely it is not the act of Muslims, but those who have been hired to kill Muslims,” Karzai said.
He did not elaborate, but he has often blamed foreign interests, mostly in neighboring Pakistan, of being behind many of the high-profile attacks against members of his administration in recent years.
No group has claimed responsibility, but it bore the hallmarks of the Taliban, which has been fighting Karzai’s administration and the foreign military presence in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in late 2001. The group has made attacking government officials a key part of its official military campaign this year.