Assassination attempts on Hamid Karzai

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Hamid Karzai, the 12th President of Afghanistan, was subject to several failed assassination attempts after becoming leader of Afghanistan on 20 December 2001.

Assassination attempts and plots[edit]

September 2002[edit]

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.[1]

September 2004[edit]

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.[2] Three people were reported to have been arrested by the Afghan police in Gardez in connection with the attack, by Kabul Television.

June 2007[edit]

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.[3][4][5]

April 2008[edit]

On 27 April 2008, insurgents, reportedly from the Haqqani network,[6] used automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a military parade that Karzai was attending in Kabul.[7] During the national anthem, 3 Taliban[8] 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.[9][10][11] 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.[12]

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."[13] 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".[13] 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.[14]

October 2011[edit]

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.[15]

June 2013[edit]

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.[16][17] 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.[18] 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.[19] Karzai, who was inside the palace at the time, was not injured.[20] With the explosions and firefight resulting in the deaths of three Afghan security guards and all of the Taliban fighters.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DAY OF AFGHAN VIOLENCE". PBS. Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Gall, Carlotta (17 September 2004). "Afghan Leader's Helicopter Is Attacked, Aborting a Campaign Rally". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "UN 'outraged' after assassination attempt on Karzai". Associated Press. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Tim Albone in Kabul (11 June 2007). "Taleban fail in rocket attempt on Karzai's life". London: timesonline. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  5. ^ "Karzai unhurt in Taleban attack". BBC News. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Haqqani Network, Militant Organization Mappings, Stanford University
  7. ^ "Karzai Escapes Attack in Kabul by Gunmen "
  8. ^ "Karzai Escapes Another Assassination Attempt". Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  9. ^ Gopal, Amand, "The most deadly US foe in Afghanistan", Christian Science Monitor, 31 May 2009
  10. ^ "Leaders attack attempt on Karzai's life". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008. 
  11. ^ Walsh, Declan (28 April 2008). "Karzai survives Taliban assassination attempt during military parade". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008. 
  12. ^ "Afghan president survives assassination bid". MSNBC. 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008. ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of Afghanistan’s victory over the Soviet invasion 
  13. ^ a b "Afghan president escapes deadly parade attack". Google News. 2008. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2008. 
  14. ^ "Police and Army Officers Tied to Attempt on Karzai’s Life"
  15. ^ Plot to kill president foiled; 6 detained Pajhwok Afghan News. October 5, 2011.
  16. ^ Alissa J. Rubin (June 24, 2013). "Taliban Strike Near Palace Inside Kabul". 
  17. ^ The Week (June 25, 2013). "Taliban attack on Karzai HQ a 'huge propaganda victory'". 
  18. ^ Steve Robson (June 24, 2013). "Taliban suicide bombers attack presidential palace and CIA headquarters in Afghanistan". 
  19. ^ Emma Graham-Harrison (June 25, 2013). "Taliban gunmen attack Kabul presidential palace Attackers open fire on guards and CIA base after using fake security passes to enter fortified diplomatic zone". 
  20. ^ "Afghan Taliban assault in Kabul secure zone". June 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ Mark Memmotr (June 25, 2013). "Attackers Killed During 'Brazen Assault' Near Afghan Palace".