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Militants kill ex-governor, 4 others


Published: Sat, March 18, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


The former governor was a critic of the Taliban regime.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Militants ambushed an influential former governor near his home Saturday, killing him and four others, while three suspected Taliban rebels died in a botched attack on a current governor, Afghan officials said.
The violence came just days after Taliban commander Mullah Omar purportedly threatened a major rebel resurgence.
Both of Saturday's attacks occurred in Ghazni, a province in eastern Afghanistan that had been spared the worst of fighting that has wracked the country the past year.
Gunmen ambushed the former governor, Taj Mohammed Qari Baba, as he was driving to his home in Ghazni city with a driver, bodyguard and two relatives, said Ali Ahmad, a provincial police chief. All were killed when the militants riddled their vehicle with bullets.
Two men were arrested at the scene and were being questioned, Ahmad said.
About former governor
Baba was an influential figure in Ghazni who was a strong supporter of the government of President Hamid Karzai and a critic of the Taliban regime ousted by a U.S.-led campaign in late 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida training camps.
Believed to be in his 60s, Baba had been a commander in one of the Islamic groups that fought Soviet occupying troops in the 1980s. He served twice as Ghazni's governor, in 1992-95 and in 2002, after the Taliban was driven from power.
Hours after Baba was killed, suspected Taliban rebels ambushed a convoy carrying Ghazni's current governor, Sher Alam, setting off a shootout that killed three attackers, Alam told The Associated Press by phone. One of the assailants was wounded and arrested, he said.
"I am safe, and our security forces are looking for the Taliban, who escaped toward a nearby village," Alam said.
Taliban loyalists have staged a string of attacks in recent months on prominent Afghans who speak out against the insurgents.
A week ago, a suicide car bomb in the capital, Kabul, hit a convoy carrying the speaker of the upper house of Parliament, wounding him and killing four people.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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