Karzai curtails Turkmen visit due to Takhar incident
KABUL (PAN): A massive suicide attack that killed senior security officials in northern Takhar province forced President Hamid Karzai to cut short his visit to Turkmenistan and return to Kabul on Sunday noon.
Four Afghan police officials, including two senior commanders, and two German soldiers were killed when the bomber found his way into the governor's compound on Saturday and exploded explosives strapped to his body.
Nine Afghan officials, including the provincial governor, Abdul Jabbar Taqwa, and NATO's German commander Gen. Markus Kneip, were wounded. Police chief for the northern zone, Gen. Daud Daud, and provincial police head, Brig. Gen. Shah Jehan Noori, were among the dead.
On return home, Karzai expressed deep sorrows and grief over the deaths of Daud and Noori, his spokesman Waheed Omar told a press conference in Kabul. The president called the deaths an "irreparable loss to the nation", Omar said.
Karzai, who flew to Ashgabat on two-day visit to drum up regional support for his Afghanistan's economic future, phoned the elder brother of Gen. Daud and the father of Noori to express his condolences.
At a meeting on Saturday, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Afghan counterpart agreed on building a railway line linking the two countries. They reiterated their commitment to speeding up implementation of a pipeline taking gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to India.
Karzai was due to spend two more days in the neighbouring country before heading to Italy, but he curtailed his trip and returned home Sunday noon due to the Takhar incident.
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