A top member of President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet threatened to quit after a suicide car bomb targeted him, killing five people, in the latest Taliban attempt to destabilize Afghanistan's struggling government.
Shortly after the bombing Sunday in the western city of Herat, Energy Minister Ismail Khan railed against the dramatic rise in violence in Afghanistan, saying that thousands of new refugees are seeking shelter in Herat because of militant attacks in outlying districts. Five civilians died in the failed assassination attempt, police said.
Two days ago, Khan said, a young man was hanged by militants only a couple miles (kilometers) outside a NATO base and Afghan government center. Kidnappings of wealthy family members are on the rise, including the abduction of girls, he said.
Khan said government security agents had warned him that insurgents planned to target him. Two earlier assassination attempts had been foiled, he said.
"Very clearly I want to say that if the government does not form a clear strategy to bring peace and security, and the situation continues like this, I will not participate in the Cabinet anymore," Khan said.