Anti-Taliban MP attacked in Afghanistan

An outspoken anti-Taliban legislator survived a suicide car bomb attack close to his house in Kabul that injured five civilians.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 15:43 IST

An outspoken anti-Taliban legislator survived a suicide car bomb attack close to his house in Afghanistan's capital on Friday that injured five civilians and three of his bodyguards, police said.

The blast was the first suicide attack in heavily-guarded Kabul since October, and comes near the end of Afghanistan's bloodiest year since the ultra-Islamic Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.

An explosives-laden vehicle detonated near a car belonging to MP Padshah Khan Zadran, about 50 metres away from his residence in eastern Kabul, police criminal investigation chief Ali Shah Paktiawal told the agency.

"The suicide attacker rammed his bomb-filled vehicle into Zadran's car as his car left the house but fortunately he was not in the vehicle," Paktiawal said.

"Three of his bodyguards in his car were wounded, along with five civilian passers-by," he said.

Zadran, the leader of an ethnic Pashtun tribe and a former anti-Soviet fighter, is an MP for southeastern Paktia province.

He has often criticised the Taliban and accused neighbouring Pakistan of aiding them.

The bodyguards and civilians, who include some of his relatives, were in a critical condition, police said.

They said that in mid-December they had arrested an Afghan national named Rasoul Khan Sartak on charges of planning to assasinate Zadram.

The suspect is in currently in police custody.

"Rasoul Khan Sartak has confessed he was sent on a mission to assassinate Padshah Khan Zardarn and we have convincing documents. He is in our custody now," said Paktiawal.

Taliban militants have previously targeted officials who oppose the fundamentalist movement, which has been blamed for around 100 suicide attacks this year.

Paktia governor Hakim Taniwal was assassinated in a suicide bombing in September, becoming the first governor to be killed since the Taliban were toppled.

On December 12 a suicide bomber blew himself up at a governor's house in southern Helmand province, killing eight people. The governor, Mohammad Daud, survived.

Police in southern Afghanistan said Tuesday they had arrested a would-be suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body who planned to kill the governor of Ghazni province.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials have openly blamed the Pakistani government for supporting Taliban extremists and giving them safe haven in Pakistan, training and financial support.

Islamabad has strongly denied the accusation.

First Published: Dec 22, 2006 13:51 IST