July 27, 2011 1438 GMT
The mayor of Afghanistan’s restive southern city of Kandahar was killed in a suicide bomb attack Wednesday, the latest in a series of recent high-profile assassinations the Taliban have taken responsibility for.
Ghulam Haidar Hamidi, 65, was killed during a city hall meeting in the provincial capital when explosives detonated inside the turban of his attacker, according to Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor’s office.
One civilian was also injured in the attack.
But the newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, cautioned against definitively pinning the attacks on the Taliban, despite the group’s claims.
“It’s not clear to me that this was a Taliban conducted act,” he said.
Crocker pointed to a recent demonstration in front of the mayor’s office over a “road-building incident that resulted in the deaths of one or two young girls.”
Authorities say the mayor was leaving the meeting hall when the attack occurred.
“It’s not clear whether the suicide attack was from the children’s relatives” or from insurgents, said Ayoubi.
Crocker added that “this could turn out to be a murder that didn’t have anything to do with the Taliban.”
Still, it is the second time in less than two weeks that a senior official was killed by suicide bombers who placed explosives in their turbans.
The attack is also the latest in a string of killings across the country, and the most recent for a region that appears to be deadly for high-ranking officials.
Two deputy mayors of Kandahar City have been gunned down by militants in the past year, according to the governor’s office.
And Kandahar Police Chief Khan Mohammad Mujahid was also killed by a suicide bomber in April.
But perhaps the most high profile attack occurred earlier this month when Kandahar’s provincial council chief Ahmed Wali Karzai — the president’s half-brother and an influential power-broker in country’s south — was gunned down by a longtime bodyguard inside his home.
The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack, though rumors soon swirled that his death could also have been the result of a murder over personal grievances.
Still, Wali Karzai’s assassination, Wednesday’s attack and a list of others have highlighted security questions about who can be trusted in Afghanistan.
During a remembrance ceremony for the president’s half-brother at a Kandahar mosque two days after his death, a suicide bomber slipped into the building and killed six people, wounding 15 others.
That bomber also placed explosives inside his turban.
Within the next week, a key political adviser to the Afghan president and a Parliament member were gunned down in a home west of Kabul.
The killings have taken place just as a security transfer to Afghan control and a NATO draw-down is underway.
Speaking to the media for the first time since being formally sworn in, Crocker said the United States condemns Wednesday’s attack “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Our condolences are with his family and with the government and people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Crocker called the killing “another indication of both the challenges that Afghanistan faces, but also the extraordinary resilience of the Afghan government and people.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai also condemned Wednesday’s assassination, saying the attack was carried out by “the enemies of peace.”
The new U.S. ambassador described the recent attacks as “horrific,” but also said that — if Taliban were responsible — it can be “interpreted as a sign of significant organizational weakness on the part of the adversary.”
A recent up-tick in joint Afghan-NATO raids has killed many of the Taliban’s senior and mid-level commanders across the southern and eastern provinces.
“The Taliban is now damaged to the point where they can no longer conduct large scale operations,” Crocker said.
“They’ve had to regroup and figure out what they can do.”
The incidents came as NATO forces are beginning the first stage of a troop draw-down, which is expected to remove 10,000 soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
The full draw-down is scheduled for the end of 2014.
But Crocker on Wednesday gave indications of an American presence in Afghanistan well beyond the draw-down date.
“I think both we and the Afghans envision this as a very broad compact that will cover cooperation in a variety of fields” beyond 2014, he said. “Not only security, we’re going to talk about educational, economic and commercial cooperation.
“The intention is to lay down the foundation… for a strong, stable, long-term relationship between our two countries.”
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
Ghulam Haider Hamidi
how he lost his heart’s desire = GI = 79 = Anger. Going off. Going ballistic.
Each letter of the name rules 9 years of life. Ages 54 to 81 are ruled by the sum of the 7th, 8th, and 9th letters of the name.
Ghulam Haider Hamidi
8 (H is the 8th letter of the alphabet) + 1 (a is the 1st letter of the alphabet) + 9 (i is the 9th letter of the alphabet) = 18
So from ages fifty-four to eighty-one he had the number 18 going on.
18 = Surreal. Like a bad dream. Unseen danger.
find out your own numerology at: