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Bomb blast kills Afghan governor and 15 others

At least 15 people, including the governor of Kunduz province, were killed in a bomb attack in northern Afghanistan on Friday. At least 13 were injured. No organization took immediate responsibility for the attacks.

Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar was an outspoken critic of the Taliban

Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar was an outspoken critic of the Taliban

The explosion took place on Friday at a mosque in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province. The mosque's imam and the governor of Kunduz province, Mohammad Omar, were killed as well as 13 others, according to the provincial police chief Shah Noori. At least 13 were injured.

Noori added that the situation was chaotic and it was not yet known whether the blasts had been part of a suicide attack or whether the bomb had earlier been planted in the mosque.

There was a wave of violence during the run up to last month's parliamentary elections

There was a wave of violence during the run up to last month's parliamentary elections

He also said that Governor Omar, who had previously survived two assassination attempts, may have been the primary target of the attack.

Mohammad Omar - an outspoken leader

Omar was very outspoken in his views against the Taliban. He had repeatedly warned the government and international troops that al Qaeda and the Taliban were getting stronger in the northern Afghan provinces, including Kunduz and Takhar. He had also asked for military reinforcements in the area.

The attack on Omar is one of the most serious assaults on an Afghan government official since last year’s assassination of the deputy intelligence chief. In 2008, another regional governor was killed in a roadside bombing.

Lower-level assassinations are quite common, however. Last month, at least 17 people were killed during parliamentary elections and there had been a rise in violence during the electoral campaign.

Taliban boast of stronger 'Jihad'

On Thursday, the Taliban announced that their "Jihad" was stronger than ever.

The US has announced it will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011

The US has announced it will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011

International troops have been witnessing their bloodiest year since the US-led Afghan operation began in 2001, with more than 560 soldiers killed so far.

Last December, US President Barack Obama announced he would send an additional 30,000 troops to bolster the anti-Taliban campaign in Afghanistan. He has since declared that US forces will start withdrawing in July 2011.

mg/dpa/Reuters

Editor: Anne Thomas

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