Da Dawn del 11/09/2006
Originale su http://www.dawn.com/2006/09/11/top1.htm

Blast kills Afghan governor

KABUL, Sept 10: An Afghan provincial governor was assassinated by a suicide bomber on Sunday, as Nato said it killed 34 more Taliban fighters in its biggest offensive against the resurgent group.

Hakim Taniwal, the governor of Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan, his nephew and chief bodyguard were killed in the suicide attack claimed by the Taliban.

Mr Taniwal, in his 60s, was a former sociology professor who previously lived in exile for some 20 years in Melbourne, Australia. He had also served as minister in the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The bomber had been waiting outside the gates of Mr Taniwal’s office and blew himself up as the group left the building, interior ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai said.

President Karzai condemned the governor’s killing and said he was ‘deeply saddened’.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Hanif said one of the movement’s fighters had carried out the attack.

The killing coincided with a Nato statement that its forces and Afghan soldiers killed 34 Taliban insurgents in a battle in Kandahar, the Taliban’s heartland.

Backed by close air support, the militants were killed in two areas of Kandahar in four encounters that started on Saturday and lasted until just after dawn on Sunday, the Nato statement said.

It did not say if there were any casualties among Nato or Afghan forces in the fighting in Zari and Panjwai districts.

Nato has encountered heavier-than-expected fighting since taking over southern Afghanistan from US-led troops on July 31 to allow Washington to reduce its forces.

The latest casualties would bring to more than 400 the number of Taliban killed since Nato launched Operation Medusa over a week ago.

The Taliban dismissed Nato’s casualty figures as propaganda.

“They are lying. If their figure was true, then they would have driven the Taliban from Panjwai and Zari by now,” Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said.

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