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Karzai Escapes Another Assassination Attempt

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Karzai Escapes Another Assassination Attempt
(Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
Taliban fighters marred one of Afghanistan's most celebrated days -- Mujahedeen Victory Day, observing Afghans' victory over the Soviets -- on April 27, 2008, with gunfire and rocket fire aimed at President Hamid Karzai.

The president escaped from the open-air event in Kabul unhurt, but lawmaker Fazel Rahman Samkanai, Qezelbashan tribal leader Nasir Ahmad Latifi, and a 10-year-old child were killed, as were three of the six attackers.

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    "Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed issued a statement, claiming responsibility.

    'Six of our Fedayeen martyrs entered to the stadium for the ceremony. They were heavily armed with mortars and machine guns. This was an organized attack. When the national anthem started they started the attack. Three were killed and three have survived,' the statement said.

    The Taliban also claimed its fighters got within 30 yards of the stand where Karzai and other dignitaries were standing. A diplomatic source said a mortar round landed near the stand.

    Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said the attackers were captured, but he did not say how many were in custody.

    U.S. Ambassador William Wood and British Ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles were in the stand, but were unhurt and later returned safely to their offices, spokesmen at their embassies said."

Al-Jazeera reported that Afghanistan was probing how the fighters were able to get so close to the scene.

With a total of four assassination attempts survived, Karzai passed his neighbor, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who has survived three attempts on his life.

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