By DEB RIECHMANN and MIRWAIS KHAN Associated Press / KANDAHAR, Afghanistan July 27, 2011 (AP).
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
AFGHAN BOILER: Suicide Bomber Kills Kandahar Mayor in Afghanistan!
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Kandahar Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi addresses a press conference in Kandahar south of Kabul, Afghanistan in this undated file photo.
A suicide bomber hiding explosives in his turban assassinated the mayor of Kandahar on Wednesday, just two weeks after President Hamid Karzai's powerful half brother was slain in the southern province that is critical to the U.S.-led war effort.
Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi, 65, was the third powerbroker from southern Afghanistan to be killed in just over two weeks, underlining fears of a surge in violence in the wake of the slaying of the president's half brother. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for all three attacks, yet the area is rife with tribal rivalries and criminals and it is not yet certain who is behind the trio of killings.
Ahmed Wali Karzai was gunned down in his home in Kandahar by a close associate on July 12, leaving a power vacuum in Kandahar and dealing a blow to the strength of the president's support as well as the stability of the south where the Taliban hold the most sway.
Five days later, Karzai's inner circle suffered another hit when gunmen killed Jan Mohammad Khan, an adviser to the president on tribal issues and a former governor of Uruzgan province, also in southern Afghanistan. A member of parliament also was killed in the July 17 attack at Khan's home in Kabul.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press that they killed the Kandahar mayor because he had ordered the destruction of homes that city officials claimed had been illegally constructed. Ahmadi said the mayor was killed to avenge the deaths of two children who were killed during the demolition work.
Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Wesa said the two children were accidentally killed by a bulldozer knocking down the homes.
During his four years as mayor, Hamidi became the enemy of the Taliban as well as others involved in criminal activities.
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