Afghan Mayor, A U.S. Citizen, Is Killed in Suicide Blast

Taliban claims responsibility

KABUL — The mayor of Kandahar was killed in a suicide attack Wednesday in the southern Afghan city, officials said, the latest victim in a wave of assassinations of high-profile Afghan government officials.

Ghulam Haider Hamidi, an ally of President Hamid Karzai’s family, was killed at the municipal hall in Kandahar city when a suicide bomber set off explosives he had concealed in his turban, said Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for Kandahar’s provincial governor.

The radical Islamist Taliban movement claimed responsibility for Hamidi’s killing.

“A coward killed our mayor today in a suicide attack,” Ayoubi said.

The enemies of the people and peace martyred a servant of Afghanistan who was striving day and night for the rebuilding and flourishing of the country,” a presidential palace statement quoted Karzai as saying.

Hamidi, 65, had earned a good reputation for his campaign against corruption, embezzlement and the seizure of government plots by powerful men and some tribes in Kandahar province, where tribal rivalry is rampant and Taliban-led insurgents maintain a stronghold