Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) – the country’s intelligence agency – issued a report on Wednesday that said its initial investigation into the blast that killed Arsala Jamal, the governor of Logar province, showed that the perpetrators had placed the bomb in a copy of the Koran, not a microphone as previously thought.
Jamal was killed at the main mosque in Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital, on Tuesday as he gave a speech to worshippers to mark the start of Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of Sacrifice.” The NDS also released a video of a Koran with burned pages inside the mosque and said the attack showed the militants had no respect for the Islamic holy book or the religion’s houses of worship. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a close friend of Jamal, strongly condemned his assassination on Tuesday, and blamed the Taliban for the incident. In a statement about the incident, Karzai said: “These attacks, which the Taliban do in the name of Islam, cause death and injury to innocent Muslims, and cannot be the work of Muslims, but rather those who have been assigned to kill Muslims.” While the militant group has not claimed responsibility for the attack, it regularly attacks government officials and is believed by many to be behind the bombing.
Prior to Jamal’s killing, Karzai gave his own speech to mark the Islamic holiday and once again urged the Taliban to stop fighting and join the peace process. He urged the group’s leaders and fighters “not to kill and destroy the dear young people of Afghanistan.” It is unclear how Jamal’s death will affect the government’s attempts to hold reconciliation talks with the group.
While Jamal’s murder is one of the highest-profile assassinations to occur in Afghanistan this year, as the 2013 fighting season comes to an end, Afghan and coalition officials are cautiously noting that most of the militants’ goals have not been met. When this year’s fighting season began, the Taliban said they wanted to kill top Afghan officials in every major ministry, conduct more “insider attacks” against American forces, and break the Afghan security forces. Though there are still questions about the Afghan forces’ ability to manage their own planning and logistics, they have mostly held their own.