(NVOnews.Com) A suicide bomber apparently on way to target the police chief of Faryab province, General Abdul Khaliq Aqsai, ended up killing at least 41 people and injuring 50 others outside a mosque on Eid-ul-Adha day in Afghanistan.
The attack took place in Maimana, the capital city of Faryab province and half of those who died or sustained injuries were security personnel. At least two of those who lost their lives were the officers of elite Afghan police force.
Though General Abdul Khaliq Aqsai blamed the Taliban a spokesman of the latter said they were investigating to find out who was responsible. Normally Taliban are quick in taking credit for the attack.
Reports said that as soon as Aqsai got in his vehicle, the bomber detonated his explosives. About 20 bodies, some in police uniform, lay in front of the mosque’s gates as smoke billowed above. Aqsai too sustained injuries.
The attack took place at around 9 AM local time just after the Eid congregation.
Provincial governor was also in the mosque but had left it earlier by another gate.
Incidentally, senior provincial government and police officials attended the prayers, but appeared to escape serious injury.
It came just before President Hamid Karzai repeated his call for the Taliban to join the government.
“If you (Taliban) want to come to the government, you are welcome. You have rights as an Afghan and as a Muslim,” he said in a speech marking Eid in the capital, Kabul. He also condemned the mosque attack.
“They can run for any position they want… if they want to join the government they are welcome.”
Attacks in northern Afghanistan are far less common than in the south and eastern provincces, and Faryab province has been considered to be relatively peaceful. Yet it is the second time in two days that major attack has taken place in this province. Only on Thursday five Afghan policemen and about two dozens Taliban were killed in the attack by the latter.
Besides, there have been a spate of assassinations in Maimana in recent days.
Similarly, Taliban have become quite active in western Afghanistan too.