Taliban Blast Kills Afghan Spy Chief, 22 Others

Insurgents target intelligence official during mosque visit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2009 6:03 AM CDT
A US soldier stands guard near the site of a suicide attack in Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A Taliban suicide bomber at a mosque near Kabul killed 23 people today, including Afghanistan's deputy chief of intelligence. The explosion ripped through a crowd in Laghman province just as officials were leaving the mosque. Two top provincial officials from Laghman were also among the dead, and the blast destroyed several government vehicles.

US troops cordoned off the blast site, right outside Mehterlam's main mosque, which sits in a crowded market area. A Taliban spokesman confirmed that a suicide bomber on foot targeted Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy chief of Afghanistan's National Directorate for Security; the blast also killed two bodyguards, and 18 civilians. The agency suffered a second attack in the country's north; an intelligence officer kidnapped a few days ago by Taliban militants was found today hanging from a tree.