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AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN

Suicide bombing at Afghan burial service kills 9

9 dead, 20 injured in suicide bombing at burial ceremony in Afghanistan

A suicide bombing at a northern Afghanistan burial ceremony on Monday killed nine people, including two police officers, and injured 20 civilians, officials said.

Representatives of Baghlan province said no government officials were in attendance at the morning burial of Hakim Baay, an elder in the Burka district.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, where a spate of violence has marred the start of President Ashraf Ghani’s tenure, three border police were shot and killed in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province. Another police officer was injured in the early-morning attack, provincial officials told local media.

Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said a local police commander who survived the attack was the target.

In the east, a blast in Pol-e Alam, the capital of Logar province, targeted a vehicle belonging to members of the Afghan National Army, although initial reports said no one had been killed. 

Monday’s attacks were the latest in a series of high-profile suicide bombings and breaches of military bases that have shaken many Afghans’ trust in the new Ghani administration’s ability to provide security.

Javid Faisal, a spokesman for Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani’s former election rival who now serves in his government as chief executive officer, said the government was taking “solid steps” to protect the nation. Ghani plans to replace senior government and security officials in several provinces, aides say.

For many residents, however, the naming of new officials, which isn’t expected for two to three months, is already long overdue.

Najib Besmel, a native of eastern Nangarhar province’s Khogyani district, where Taliban insurgents have long had a major presence, said worsening security there is a direct result of power struggles in the new national unity government.

“They are all busy with their own interests, fighting over their own seats,” said Besmel, 37. He criticized the government’s failure to name a new Cabinet within the 45 days, as initially promised by Ghani.

In an address on Sunday evening, Ghani and Abdullah said they have made progress in selecting the Cabinet appointments but an official announcement was still two to four weeks away.

In the meantime, they said, deputy ministers will replace the current caretaker ministers, who have exceeded their constitutionally mandated terms.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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