Bloomberg News

Mayor of Afghanistan’s Kandahar City Killed in Suicide Bombing

July 27, 2011

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- The mayor of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar was killed in a suicide bombing at his office today, two weeks after the region’s most powerful politician, President Hamid Karzai’s half brother, was assassinated.

Ghulam Haidar Hamidi died as the bomber detonated “explosives hidden inside his turban during a meeting between the mayor and local tribal elders over a land dispute,” Zalmai Ayoubi, the spokesman for the southern province of Kandahar, a stronghold of Taliban guerrillas, said in a phone interview. There was no claim of responsibility and Taliban spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, who had dominated politics as head of the Kandahar provincial council, was shot dead July 12 by a bodyguard the Taliban said it secretly recruited. His killing underscored security challenges as the U.S. starts transferring control of some areas to Afghan forces and begins withdrawing troops from the decade-long war.

Hamidi’s reputation as a hard worker led to him being “mentioned as a possible replacement for Ahmed Wali Karzai as provincial council chief,” Attaullah Jan Habib, a member of parliament from Kandahar, said in a phone interview.

Hamidi had two days ago visited a neighborhood in the north of Kandahar city, where he ordered the destruction of homes built illegally by senior tribal figures, Ayoubi said.

“A few people came to the mayor’s office today to talk on the land issues,” Ayoubi said. “One of the visitors had hidden explosive materials in his turban and detonated the bomb” killing Hamidi, he said.

--Editors: Mark Williams, Ben Richardson

To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Hong Kong at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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