DTN News: Afghanistan Top Stories / Headlines News Dated December 25, 2011
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources DTN News Images & The New York Times
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 25, 2011: Comprehensive daily news related to Afghanistanfor the world of TODAY.
DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: 25 Killed By Suicide Bomber In Taluqan City, Capital Of Takhar Province
*Suicide Bomber Strikes Funeral in Northern Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 25, 2011: A suicide bomber struck a funeral in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 20 people, a government spokesman said, in what appeared to be the Taliban’s latest strike against Afghans who have ties to the national government.
Among those killed in the bombing, which occurred in Takhar Province in northern Afghanistan, was a member of Parliament, Abdul Mutaleb Baik, as well as member of the provincial council, according to a spokesman for the provincial government. A number of Afghan intelligence agents and lower-level government officials were also thought to be among the dead.
The bombing took place shortly after 2 p.m. in the village of Begabad, with the attacker wading into a crowd of mourners and detonating the explosives, said the spokesman, Muhammad Tauhidi. Mr. Tauhidi put the death toll at 30, while the Interior Ministry said that more than 20 had been killed.
A number of officials and elders were attending the funeral, which was for the father of the chief of the provincial fire department, said Mualavi Muhammadullah Wursaji, the head of Takhar’s provincial council.
Neither the Taliban nor any of Afghanistan’s other insurgent groups immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. But suspicion quickly fell on the Taliban or its allies, who often target Afghan government officials and people close to them. In September, a suicide bomber, also believed to be a Taliban insurgent, killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a former president.
If the Taliban were behind Sunday’s attack, it would be the group’s second major suicide bombing this year in Takhar, a once relatively calm northern province. In May, a Taliban suicide bomber disguised as a police officer blew himself up during a meeting at the provincial governor’s compound. The chief police officer in northern Afghanistan, Gen. Daud Daud, and the Takhar province police chief, Gen. Shah Jahan Noori, were among the dead in the bombing. Among the wounded was the top German officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Markus Kneip, who served as the commander of NATO forces in northern Afghanistan.
But the Taliban are not the only insurgent faction operating in Takhar. Their allies, the Haqqani militant network, is also believed to maintain presence in the province, as is the rival Hizb-i-Islami group, which is run by the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister who played a major role in the fight against the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are also thought to be in Takhar province.
On Saturday, an Afghan soldier — or possibly an insurgent wearing an Afghan Army uniform — opened fire on coalition forces in the western province of Farah, NATO and Afghan officials said Sunday.
NATO said only the attacker was killed, and that the shooting was under investigation. But the provincial police chief, Said Muhammad, said two American soldiers were killed after a gun battle broke out between the Americans and Afghans during a joint patrol. The shooting was apparently brought on by an argument, he said.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it had been carried out by an insurgent infiltrator. While the Taliban often overstate the effectiveness of their forces, Afghan soldiers have repeatedly turned on coalition forces over the last few years, giving rise to fears that both the Afghan army and the police face an infiltration problem