Suicide bomber kills 8 in Afghanistan
A Taliban suicide bomber killed eight people inside an Afghan provincial governor’s compound Tuesday, officials said, and President Hamid Karzai accused neighboring Pakistan of being the Taliban’s “boss.”
The bomb, which went off in a parking lot, did not injure Helmand Gov. Mohammed Daoud, but a district chief was among the dead. Eight people were injured. It was the second deadly attack near Daoud’s office in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, in less than three months.
Taliban militants have increasingly targeted government officials. Since September, they have killed one provincial governor, narrowly missed another, and killed several district-level police, intelligence and administrative chiefs.
The attacks are aimed at undermining the government of Karzai, who Tuesday directly accused Pakistan’s government of supporting the insurgency.
“The problem is not Taliban. We don’t see it that way. The problem is with Pakistan,” Karzai said in an interview with foreign journalists during a trip to Kandahar, the Taliban’s former stronghold.
Asked whether Pakistan was essentially the boss of the Taliban, Karzai responded, “Absolutely. That has been the case from the very first day. That is how the Taliban came into being. It’s more than a boss.
“The state of Pakistan was supporting the Taliban, so we presume if there is still any Taliban, that they are being supported by a state element.”
Pakistan has denied that it falls short in countering the Taliban, though it has signed an agreement with militants to withdraw troops from an area near the Afghan border.
Elsewhere in Helmand province, a British soldier was killed in a clash with insurgents.