Afghanistan’s legacy of assassinations

The lives of many key political figures remain under threat from in Afghanistan.

Najia Siddiqi funeral in Laghman
In under five months, two women's affairs ministers were assassinated in eastern Laghman province [AFP]

Najia Siddiqi, Women’s affairs director 
December 11, 2012

Najia Siddiqi, acting head of the women’s affairs department in eastern Laghman province was shot dead by two unidentified men while commuting in a motorised rickshaw.

Siddiqi’s death came five months after her predecessor, Hanifa Safi was killed.

Ahmad Khan, Parliamentarian 
July 15, 2012

Ahmad Khan, a former militia commander, was killed at his daugther’s wedding when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives after embracing the Samangan province MP.

Mohammad Khan, head of intelligence for the northern province of Samangan, and the police chief for western Afghanistan were also among the dead in the blast that killed at least 20 people.

Hanifa Safi, Women’s affairs director
July 14, 2012

Hanifa Safi, head of the women’s affairs department of eastern Laghman province, was killed when a bomb attached to her car exploded in the provincial capital.

Arsala Rahmani, High Peace Council 
May 13, 2012

Prior to becoming a senior member of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, Rahmani served as deputy education minister during Taliban rule. 

Rahmani also served two terms as a senator in 2005 and 2010.

He was killed by a gunman on his way to a meeting in Kabul.

Burhanuddin Rabbani, former president
September 20, 2011

Burhanuddin Rabbani, who served as president during the 1990s, was recently the head of a High Council for Peace,  tasked by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, to reach out to the Taliban for talks.

He was killed by a suicide attack at his home in Kabul.

Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, mayor of Kandahar city
July 27, 2011

Ghulam Haidar Hameedi lived in the United States for nearly two decades before returning to Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001.

The mayor of Kandahar city was considered to be Ahmad Wali Karzai’s ally.

Hameedi was killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives hidden in his turban in a corridor near his office in the heart of the city.

Jan Mohammad Khan, Former governor of Uruzgan and senior presidential aide
July 18, 2011

Jan Mohammad Khan was former governor of Uruzgan province, who was considered an important adviser to Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

In 2006 he moved to Kabul after a stint as the chief administrator of the southern province that was marred by controversy and corruption.

Khan was killed when two armed gunmen wearing suicide bomb vests attacked his home in the Afghan capital. Mohammad Hashim Watanwal, a parliamentarian, was also killed in the hit, alongside the two assailants and one police officer.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, Chief of Kandahar Provincial Council
July 12, 2011

Ahmed Wali Karzai was the younger half-brother of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

As chief of Kandahar Provincial Council, he was one of the most powerful men in the country’s south.

He was first elected to the council in 2005 and since then had been at the centre of a number of controversy. The most notable was that he was on the Central Intelligence Agency’s payroll.

Karzai was assassinated when his close confidant opened fire on him in his own home. He was shot in the stomach and chest as he emerged from a bathroom. 

Mohammed Daud Daud, Police chief of Northern Afghanistan
May 28, 2011

Mohammed Daud Daud, was the police chief of Northern Afghanistan and the commander of the elite 303 Pamir Corps.

He was considered one of the most effective and important opponents of the Taliban.

In 2010, he was appointed police chief of eight northern provinces amd commanded all interior ministry forces in the north, including his own elite force.

Daud was assassinated after a Taliban bomb attack in Taloqan, Afghanistan, in which six other people were also killed.

General Khan Mohammed Mujahid, Kandahar police chief
April 15, 2011

General Khan Mohammed Mujahid, from Arghandab district near Kandahar, was a respected officer in his role as a fighter against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

He had survived two previous assassination attempts.

“He was killed because he was useful for Kandahar,” said Hajji Agha Lalai, a tribal elder who belonged to the same tribe and who had worked with the government to persuade local Taliban fighters to lay down their arms.

Abdul Latif Ashna, deputy governor of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province
Jan 29, 2011

Abdul Latif Ashna was killed in a suicide car bomb attack.

A motorcycle-borne suicide bomber packed with explosives rammed into a car carrying Ashna, killing him and wounding three of his bodyguards.

Ashna had been serving as a deputy governor for nine months.

In 2009, he had survived a deadly suicide attack by the Taliban that killed a number of high-ranking government officials and members of the Kandahar Provincial Council.

Hamid Barmaki, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
January 28, 2011

Hamida Barmaki, a well-known law lecturer and judge in Kabul was killed along with her husband and four children in a Taliban suicide attack at a supermarket in the Afghan capital.

Mohammad Omar, Kunduz governor
October 8, 2010

Mohammad Omar, the governor of Kunduz province, was an ethnic Andar Pashtun from Baharak district of Afghanistan.

Omar completed two years of a four-year engineering programme at Polytechnical University of Kabul before serving as the mayor of Taloqan from 1991 to 1992.

During the civil war, he was a member of Islamic Dawah Organisation of Afghanistan for a short period. After the fall of Taliban, he was appointed as the governor of Baghlan Province where he served from 2001 to 2003.

He then served as Governor of Kunduz Province from 2004 until he was assassinated six years later when a bomb exploded at the Shirkat mosque in Taloqan.

Sitara Achikzai, provincial counsel member
April 12, 2009

Sitara Achikzai was elected to the Kandahar provincial counsel in 2005. Achikzai was killed in Kandahar city when four Taliban gunmen opened fire as she was exiting her car.

Dr Abdullah Laghmani, deputy chief of the National Directorate of Security
September 2, 2009

Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, was a former intelligence officer for the Northern Alliance during the Taliban rule.

After the US invasion, Laghmani served as Kandahar’s intelligence chief and then as the deputy head of the national dirrectorate.

He was killed in a suicide attack in his home province of Laghman.

Malalai Kakar, Kandahar police officer
September 28, 2008

Malalai Kakar, top female police officer, was shot dead in her car as she was about to leave for her Kandahar city office. Her 18-year-old son, Folad Kakar, was also killed by her in the Taliban attack.

Sayed Mustafa Kazemi, member of the parliament and former Trade Minister
November 6, 2007

Mustafa Kazemi, an influential member of the parliament at the time of his assassination, was a former Trade Minister in President Karzai’s cabinet.

He was also the spokesperson for the opposition movement known as the United National Front.

Kazemi and his parliamentary delegation visiting the sugar factory in northern Baghlan province was the target of a suicide attack on November 6, 2007. Twenty-five others were also killed in the blast.

Abdul Sabur Farid Kohistani, former prime minister of Afghanistan
May 3, 2007

Abdul Sabur Farid Kohistani was prime minister of Afghanistan from July 6 until August 15, 1992. He was a member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezbi Islam, an Afghan Islamic political party.

He later served as a member of the upper house of the National Assembly of Afghanistan until he was assassinated in a shooting outside his home in Kabul.

Safia Amajan, Head of women’s affairs department
September 25, 2006

Safia Amajan opened the first women’s affairs department in Kandahar province in 2004. She was shot dead by Taliban gunmen outside her Kandahar city home. Hers is thought to be the first Taliban targeted killing of a high-profile Afghan woman after the fall of the group.

Hakim Taniwal, Paktia governor
September 10, 2006

Hakim Taniwal was the governor of Paktia at the time of his assassination by a suicide bombing.

Taniwal, who taught sociology in Australia before returning home in President Karzai’s government, had previously served as the governor of Khost.




Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
Multiple attempts

Karzai has survived four attempts on his life, the most recent of which took place in on April, 27, 2008.

Fighters, reportedly from the Haqqani network, used automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a military parade that Karzai was attending in Kabul.

In 2007, 2004 and in 2002 he came under attack as well. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the 2008 and 2007 attacks.

Responding to the attack during the ceremony, the United Nations said the attackers “have shown their utter disrespect for the history and people of Afghanistan”.

Karzai became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Asadullah Khalid, Head of National Directorate of Security
Multiple attempts

There have been several attempts on Asadullah Khalid‘s life as he went from governor of Ghazni and Kandahar provinces to minister of border and tribal affairs and finally head of the Afghan intelligence agency.

The fifth, and most recent attempt, came on December 6, 2012, when a man posing as a peace envoy entered a Kabul guest house and wounded the newly-selected spy chief with explosives hidden in his underwear.

Mohammad Gulab Mangal, Helmand provincial governor
May 25, 2011
Gulab Mangal, the current governer of Helmand province, narrowly survived an attempted assassination by Taliban gunmen on May 25, 2011.

He was driving in a motorcade from Lashkar Gah, the main city in Helmand province, to Sangin district when gunmen opened fire on him.

Mangal has faced at least four attempts on his life according to The New York Times.

When appointed governor of Helmand, he was said to be “one of the most accomplished governors to have served Afghanistan since 2001”.

Fawzia Koofi, member of the parliament
March 6, 2011

A women rights activist and member of parliament from northern Badakhshan province, Koofi survived an assassination attempt in eastern Kabul while travelling from Jalalabad back to the capital.

Gunmen opened fire on her convoy in the “Tangi Abraishum” area just outside the city. One of her guards was wounded, but Koofi escaped without any harm.

Sebghatullah Mujadadi, former president of Afghanistan
March 13, 2006

Former president and speaker of the Afghan Senate, Mujadadi’s convoy was targeted by a car-bomber. Two attackers and two bystanders were will killed in the incident, but Mujadadi escaped with minor injuries.

Source: Al Jazeera