Asia

Afghan bomb kills Logar governor Jamal in mosque

  • 15 October 2013
  • From the section Asia

The governor of Afghanistan's eastern Logar province has been killed in a blast in a mosque, during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Arsala Jamal was greeting worshippers in the mosque when a bomb apparently hidden in a microphone went off.

At least 18 other people were injured and several were in a critical condition, Mr Jamal's spokesman said.

Logar is south of the capital, Kabul, and the Taliban increasingly control much of the countryside there.

The attack took place at Logar's main mosque in the provincial capital of Pul-e-Alam, said spokesman Din Mohammed Darwesh. Mr Jamal was killed instantly.

"The governor wanted to speak and congratulate everyone on the occasion of Eid. At least 18 other people have been wounded, including civilians and government employees," the spokesman told AFP news agency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

However, Logar and its neighbouring province Wardak have become increasingly lawless in recent years, says the BBC's David Loyn in Kabul.

The insecurity threatens the southern fringes of Kabul, and thousands of people have fled to the capital in response.

The Taliban have threatened to increase attacks against government figures during the presidential campaign which will begin next month, our correspondent says.

Increasingly lawless

Mr Jamal was appointed as governor in April after returning to Afghanistan from Canada. Previously he was governor of another eastern province, Khost - which shares a border with Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan.

He was an expert in rural development who had worked for foreign NGOs before being appointed to government positions.

The governor of Afghanistan's Logar province, Arsala Jamal (file photo)
Arsala Jamal was appointed as governor in April after returning to Afghanistan from Canada
Afghan police and officials examine the mosque in Puli Alam, Logar Province, where a bomb hidden in the base of a microphone killed Afghan Governor Arsallah Jamal on 15 October
No-one has admitted carrying out the attack on the mosque

The governor was also close to President Hamid Karzai and even worked as his campaign manager in the 2009 elections.

The BBC's Dawood Azami says the killing is part of a series of assassinations that have taken place in Afghanistan.

Over the past 10 years about 1,000 mid-level leaders in Afghanistan have been assassinated, including provincial and district governors, religious scholars and tribal elders.

Logar, known as the "gate of Kabul", is of strategic importance because if the Taliban control swathes of the province it is easier for them to launch attacks in the capital, says our correspondent.

Mr Jamal also planned to champion the development of the world's second largest copper mine, which has attracted Chinese investment. This may have also made him a target, says our correspondent.

The attack comes just days after the arrest of senior Pakistan Taliban commander Latif Mehsud by US forces. He was said to be a confidante of the Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.