20 dead in Afghan suicide bombing

Sept. 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Officials said 20 civilians died and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing that targeted a funeral in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday.

The bombing occurred in Dur Baba, a district in the Nangarhar province. District Governor Hamesha Gul was in attendance at the funeral of a village elder and believed to be the bomber's target, the Los Angeles Times reported. Gul was injured but is expected to survive. The bombing claimed his son and brother, provincial police chief Abdullah Stanikzai said.

Suicide attacks targeting western-aligned government officials have been on the rise, the United Nations noted. Such attacks have increased by 50 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to last year.

District-level officials are of particular vulnerability. Whereas governors and cabinet officials usually travel with bodyguards in bulletproof vehicles, district-level government officials often mingle with the public absent such security measures, the U.N. said.

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