Suicide bomb kills Afghan deputy intelligence chief
The assassination of a high-ranking official underscores the strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The Taliban delivered one of their sharpest blows Wednesday since Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential elections, killing the country's deputy intelligence chief and other high-ranking officials in a suicide attack that left 23 dead outside Kabul.
The attack comes amid rising tensions for the Obama administration, which is scrambling to assist Afghanistan to rectify an election riddled with fraud allegations, while also conducting a major policy review of military strategy in Afghanistan amid record levels of American and coalition troop deaths.
The assassination of such a high-ranking official highlighted a serious breach in Afghanistan's security apparatus, and proved a long-sought-after victory for the insurgents, The New York Times reports:
Dr. Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy director of the National Directorate for Security, the country's intelligence service, was killed about 10:30 a.m. as he left the main mosque in Mehterlam, where he had gone to talk with local residents about their problems, witnesses said.
The assassination was carried out by a suicide bomber on foot who targeted Dr. Laghmani and other government officials, said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Mr. Mujahid said the insurgency had long sought to kill Dr. Abdullah, the former head of intelligence for Kandahar Province, who he claimed had committed crimes by detaining and jailing many people.
Also killed in the attack were said to be "the heads of the provincial council and provincial executive body," Reuters reports, adding that there were conflicting reports on whether provincial governor Lutfullah Mashal had also been wounded.