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Turban-Hidden Bomb Kills Mayor of Kandahar

Only two weeks following the assassination of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's half brother, another fatal blow has hit the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, as a suicide bomber killed the mayor of the city with a bomb hidden in his turban, Wednesday.

The Kandahar provincial administration administered a press release that described the bombing as a suicide attack. One other person was wounded by the blast.

The explosion occurred while Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi was in a municipal hall meeting with Afghan citizens to discuss the bulldozing of illegal homes built on government land.

A Taliban spokesman has claimed responsibility for the attack stating, "one of our mujahideen took advantage of today's meeting to kill the mayor."

The attack follows the death of two children accidentally killed by bulldozers that were razing the illegal houses built on government land.

The bomber carried explosives in his turban and detonated them while he was shaking hands with the mayor. The use of the turban to conceal explosives is becoming a more common tactic used by the insurgency.

Hamidi, a U.S. citizen who worked as a bookkeeper for a travel agency in Virginia for years, had earned a good reputation in Kandahar through his work in fighting corruption.

Increasingly, high profile government, police, and military officials tied to President Karzai are becoming targets of the insurgency, weakening Karzai's political stability in the country.

The blast comes on the heels of the death of the Kandahar strong man, Ahmed Wali, President Hamid Karzai's half brother. Wali served as the head of Kandahar's provincial council and was considered the most influential power broker in southern Afghanistan. His power was derived from his fortune and connections with tribal and political leaders.

Wali was shot dead by one of his most trusted bodyguards.

New U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan C. Crocker said that he "condemned in the strongest possible terms the assassination of another senior Afghan government official."

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and the country's second largest city. It has seen increased volatility over the past few years and most government posts remain unfilled due to Taliban intimidation campaigns.

With the ousting of Ahmed Wali, and now Hamidi, the gaping power vacuum in Kandahar is likely to lead to more turmoil in the region through an emboldened and empowered insurgency movement.

Lying on Pakistan's northern border, the city of Kandahar is the Achilles heel of Afghanistan and will likely remain under the microscope of the United States and the international community as troop pullouts and transfers to Afghan-led security begin.

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