Bomb in Microphone Kills Afghan Governor at Mosque on Holiday

A bomb placed inside a microphone at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan killed a provincial governor and wounded 18 others during prayers to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, local official said.

Arsala Jamal, governor of Logar province, was killed while delivering a speech in the mosque, Din Mohammad Darwish, the province’s spokesman, said by phone. The bomb had been “masterly” placed inside the microphone and it exploded after the governor began talking, he said.

The attack comes as the war-torn country prepares for elections next year as the U.S. seeks a deal with President Hamid Karzai to keep some troops in the nation after 2014. The Taliban, which is fighting U.S. troops and views Karzai as illegitimate, vowed last month to disrupt the election with targeted assassinations.

“Today’s violence increases the fears and intimidations of Afghans and it will lead to less participation of people,” Jawid Kohistani, a Kabul-based political and security analyst, said by phone.

Karzai and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have said they are close to completing a security agreement that would allow some U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Any agreement must be approved by both Afghanistan’s parliament and a council of elders called a Loya Jirga.

Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar warned of “grave consequences” for the U.S. and its allies if the agreement is signed, according to a statement sent to reporters yesterday.

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