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Bomber hits Afghan governor's funeral, 6 killed

Written by: Staff

KHOST, Afghanistan, Sep 11 (Reuters) A suicide bomber killed at least six Afghan policemen on Monday at the funeral for a provincial governor, an Australian citizen.

None of the several cabinet ministers present were hurt, but at last 55 people were wounded in the attack in Khost province, police said.

Hakim Taniwal, head of the southeastern province of Paktia bordering Pakistan but who came from Khost, died when a suicide bomber threw himself on the official's car yesterday. He was the first governor killed in several assassination attempts across the country since the fall of Taliban in 2001.

The former mines minister was killed the day before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer drew parallels with September. 11 and said Taniwal's death was a reminder of the need to continue to fight terrorism.

''It is a truly sad thing for someone who became an Australian citizen to have died in these tragic circumstances, finding his country of birth liberated, a country that was free, but a country still under a good deal of pressure,'' he told parliament.

''This of course is a reminder to all of us, particularly on this day, September the 11th, that the fight against terrorism is going to continue on a number of fronts.'' But five years after September 11, the Taliban is more powerful than at any time since it ruled this nation of about 25 million.

About 2,000 people have died in fighting this year, and about 10,000 since US forces invaded in 2001 to oust the Taliban.

Taniwal became an Australian citizen after moving to Melbourne as a refugee.

His son, Zmarak Taniwal, said his family in Australia regularly called for their father to leave as the fighting worsened.

''It was getting worse every day, so he didn't like it either, and he said as soon as he sorts a few things out he wants to leave his job and go back to Melbourne,'' he told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Security analyst William Maley, from the Australian National University, said Taniwal had become a target because he had enforced good governance over his province.

''He'd managed to ease out a number of rather obnoxious militia,'' Maley told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

In a country where corruption is rife and the governnment cannot even control the capital, Taniwal was considered one of the best civil servants.


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