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Karzai Escapes Assassination Attempt, Downtown Kabul Bombed

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2002 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai today survived an apparent assassination attempt in the city of Kandahar.

Karzai was in a motorcade with Kandahar Province Gov. Shirzai at about 10:30 a.m. EDT when an Afghan in uniform standing nearby fired shots into the president's car. The would-be assassin missed Karzai, but hit Shirzai in the neck, according to Afghanistan's foreign minister.

A Karzai Afghan bodyguard and the gunman killed each other in an exchange of shots, according to the minister.

Karzai's U.S. security detail took him away to safety, while the wounded governor was taken to a nearby medical facility for treatment. Shirzai is expected to live.

A U.S. soldier on the security team received minor injuries in the attack and is in stable condition at a nearby military medical facility, U.S. Central Command officials reported.

Also today, shortly before the shooting in Kandahar, a bomb detonated in the downtown business district of Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. At least 10 people were reported killed and scores of others wounded in the bombing.

Afghan officials have blamed the attacks on al Qaeda.

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