Eight killed in attack targeting Afghan governor

Jalalabad (Afghanistan) (AFP) –


A suicide attack targeting an Afghan provincial governor killed at least eight people Monday, officials said, as the president visited Qatar where slow-moving peace talks with the Taliban are taking place.

Twenty eight people were wounded when the attacker rammed his explosives-filled vehicle into the convoy of Rahmatullah Yarmal, the governor of eastern Laghman province.

"The governor was driving to his office when his car was hit. Four of his bodyguards and four civilians were killed, 28 wounded," the governor's spokesman Assadullah Daulatzai told AFP, adding that the governor was unhurt.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian confirmed the attack and said most of the wounded were civilians.

It came as President Ashraf Ghani arrived in Doha on Monday to meet with Qatari officials, three weeks after the launch of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Ghani first stopped in Kuwait to offer condolences over the death of emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, his spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

He went on to meet Afghan government negotiators in Doha as well as Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar's state minister for foreign affairs.

"Ghani heard from the delegation and spoke briefly to show his full support for the negotiation and peace process," negotiator Nader Naderi said.

Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, aimed at ending Afghanistan's 19-year conflict, have slowed over disagreements on how to frame a code of conduct that will guide the broader talks.

The Taliban, who are Sunni hardliners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but the government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shia, and other minorities in the country.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future peace deal and how it will be referred to.

No group claimed responsibility for the Laghman attack, but the Taliban are active in the region.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives at the entrance an administrative building in eastern Nangarhar province, killing 15 people, mostly civilians, officials said.