Assassination attempts on Hamid Karzai
Assassination attempts and plots
On 5 September 2002, an assassination attempt was made on Hamid Karzai in Kandahar City. Posing as a bodyguard, a gunman wearing the uniform of the new Afghan National Army opened fire, wounding Gul Agha Sherzai (former governor of Kandahar) and an American Special Operations officer. The gunman, one of the President's actual bodyguards, and a bystander who knocked down the gunman were killed, when Karzai's American bodyguards returned fire. Recently, some pictures of the US Navy's DEVGRU responding to the attempt have surfaced. Allegedly one of their members was wounded.
On 16 September 2004, a rocket missed the helicopter Karzai was flying in while en route to Gardez. The helicopter, an American Chinook, returned to Kabul. Government officials said the rocket hit almost a mile from the helicopter and questioned whether it was an assassination attempt. Some at the scene thought the explosion was celebratory. Three people were reported to have been arrested by the Afghan police in Gardez in connection with the attack, by Kabul Television.
The Taliban attempted to assassinate Karzai in Ghazni where Karzai was giving a speech to elders. The Taliban fired approximately 12 rockets, some of which landed 220 yards (200 m) away from the crowd. Karzai was not hurt in the incident and was transported away from the location after finishing his speech.
|Wikinews has related news: President of Afghanistan uninjured after assassination attempt|
On 27 April 2008, insurgents, reportedly from the Haqqani network, used automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a military parade that Karzai was attending in Kabul. During the national anthem, 3 Taliban attackers opened fire. Live television coverage of the event was cut off shortly afterward. Karzai was unhurt, but at least three people were killed, including parliamentarian Fazel Rahman Samkanai, a ten-year-old girl, Nasir Ahmad Latifi, minority leader, and ten injured. Others attending the event included government ministers, former leaders, diplomats and the military top brass, all of whom had gathered to mark the 16th anniversary of the fall of the Afghan communist government to the mujahideen.
Responding to the attack during the ceremony, the United Nations said the attackers "have shown their utter disrespect for the history and people of Afghanistan." Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, stating, "We fired rockets at the scene of the celebration." He went on to say there were 6 Taliban at the scene and that 3 were killed. "Our aim was not to directly hit someone," Mujahed said when asked if the intention was to kill Karzai. "We just wanted to show to the world that we can attack anywhere we want to". The ability of the attackers to get so close to Karzai suggested they had inside help. Defense minister Wardak confirmed that a police captain was connected with the group behind the assassination attempt and that an army officer supplied the weapons and ammunition used in the attack.
As recent as October 2011, while Karzai was visiting India to sign an important strategic pact with Manmohan Singh, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) agents arrested 6 people in Kabul for allegedly planning to assassinate Karzai. Among those involved in the assassination plot were four Kabul University students and professor Dr. Aimal Habib, including one of Karzai's personal guards.
On June 25, 2013, eight Taliban fighters cleared two security clearances inside the Shash Darak district of Kabul, where the Afghan presidential palace is located and began their attack. They detonated multiple suicide bombs causing 14 different explosions at the palace's eastern gate, and engaging in an intense firefight with palace security guards. The attack took place near where reporters were setting up inside the palace gates for a press event where Karzai was scheduled to address the press. Karzai, who was inside the palace at the time, was not injured. With the explosions and firefight resulting in the deaths of three Afghan security guards and all of the Taliban fighters.
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ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of Afghanistan’s victory over the Soviet invasion
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- Steve Robson (June 24, 2013). "Taliban suicide bombers attack presidential palace and CIA headquarters in Afghanistan". dailymail.co.uk.
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- Mark Memmotr (June 25, 2013). "Attackers Killed During 'Brazen Assault' Near Afghan Palace". npr.org.