Afghan militia commander survives bombing; two guards killed

Other News Materials 24 December 2009 13:10 (UTC +04:00)

An anti-Taliban militia commander survived a roadside bombing Thursday in northern Afghanistan but two of his bodyguards were killed in the blast, officials said, DPA reported.

Selaab Khan was leaving his house in Kunduz, the capital of the province of the same name, when a bomb hidden inside a drainage system was remotely detonated, said Mohammad Razaq Yaqoubi, the provincial police chief.

"Commander Selaab Khan is unharmed, but two of his bodyguards were killed," he said, adding that a civilian passer-by was wounded in the blast, which took place in the centre of the city.

In an interview at his home, Khan blamed Taliban militants, who have been expanding their presence in the province, for the attack. He said the militants had tried to kill him two other times in the past two months but their plots were unsuccessful.

"These kinds of attacks will not deter our resolve to fight against the Taliban," he said. "We will continue our struggle against them until we kick them out of this region."

The Taliban had yet to make a comment on the bombing.

Khan, who served as a guerrilla commander during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, currently commands an unknown number of local villagers who have recently taken up arms against the Taliban in Gul Tapa, a restive area of Kunduz.

Wary of the Taliban's speedy expansion in previously peaceful northern provinces and lacking enough army and police forces to provide security for rural areas, the Afghan government has supported the formation of district-based militia forces to clamp down on the Taliban in the region.