Prominent Afghan MP killed in suicide attack - 07-14-2012, 12:40 PM
Ahmad Khan among 18 dead after bomber detonates explosives at his daughter's wedding in northern Samangan province.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2012 15:22
The bomber attacked the wedding party of MP Ahmad Khan's daughter in the north of the country [Reuters]
At least 18 people, including a member of parliament, have been killed and some 43 others injured in a suicide attack in northern Afghanistan.
The attacker embraced MP Ahmad Khan, a former militia commander, in front of guests at his daughter's wedding before detonating the explosives strapped around his waist, a security forces spokesman said.
Al Jazeera's correspondent Bernard Smith described the wedding in Samangan Province as "high profile".
He reported that it had attracted a list of guests including MPs, senators and the head of intelligence for the province, Mohammed Khan, who was also killed in the blast early Saturday.
President Hamid Karzai's office said in a statement 17 people were killed and around 43 wounded, revising an earlier statement that said 23 were killed in the attack in Aybak, capital of normally peaceful Samangan province.
The police chief for western Afghanistan later died of his injuries, increasing the death toll to 18.
The Samangan Province is ordinarily a quiet province and there is confusion at the moment as to who is behind the attack.
Kate Clark, senior analyst at the Afghanistan Analysts Network, speaking to Al Jazeera from Kabul, said Saturday's attack was rare not only for the north of the country, but also for Afghanistan as a whole, since "so many senior government officials were killed".
"It could be some sort of revenge attack, ordinarily it is the Taliban that uses suicide attacks," Smith reported.
Karzai also appointed a delegation to investigate the attack. An ethnic Uzbek, Khan was a militia commander during the decades of conflict in Afghanistan, when his forces held sway in the area.
Khan fought tenaciously against the Taliban in difficult circumstances and that "he came through as one of the most significant anti-Taliban commanders of the north", Clark said.
This attack comes a day after a regional head of women's affairs was targeted and killed by a car bomb in Afghanistan's east.
Hanifa Safi was killed while driving through the capital of Laghman province, Mehtar Lam, when a bomb attached to her car exploded, provincial governor spokesman Sarhadi Zwak said.
"The deliberate killing of a brave woman and a public servant, dedicated to improving the situation of Afghan women and working for the safety and security of her country, is an outrage," Jan Kubis, the UN representative to Kabul, said.
Safi, appointed in 2008, was the second provincial head of women's affairs to be assassinated since the posts were created a decade ago in each of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, reporting to the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kabul.
Safia Ama Jan, who headed the department in southern Kandahar province, was gunned down in 2006 by the Taliban.
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Afghan MP Ahmad Khan Samangani Killed in Suicide Attack at - 07-14-2012, 12:42 PM
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