A provincial governor survived a bomb blast that ripped through a car near a mosque in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least five policemen and wounding 10 more.
The parked car exploded as the anti-Taliban governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan walked out of a mosque after prayers for a respected former guerrilla who died this month.
"Five policemen in the car were martyred," said interior ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai. "The bomb, a remote-controlled device, was placed in the car and exploded. Six or seven people were wounded."
The governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, who was 15m from the explosion was unhurt.
The prayer ceremony was for Maulawi Yunus Khalis, a major mujahedin leader during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan who died this month. Khalis also supported the fundamentalist Taliban.
Sherzai, the governor, was part of the resistance to the Taliban movement which captured most of Afghanistan in 1996. He also governed Kandahar when the Taliban took the southern province to launch its rise to power.
Meanwhile, Afghan forces killed 23 Taliban insurgents in raids on two hide-outs in southern Afghanistan, a district police chief said yesterday.
The raids took place on Sunday near the Helmand provincial town of Garmser, which Taliban forces overran and briefly took control of earlier this month.