Taliban Murder the Deputy Kandahar Mayor in a Mosque
Deputy Mayor Azizullah Yarmal walked into a mosque in central Kandahar, turned toward Mecca and began to pray to Allah. As he reached the point where he and the others in the mosque knelt in unison and then bent forward to touch their foreheads to the ground, gunmen made their move, shooting him with a pistol, said Zalmy Ayoubi, a government spokesman.
The New York Times describes Yarmal as one of the few Kandahar public officials whom locals view as honest and untouched by corruption. While a Taliban spokesman described the assassination as retribution for Yarmal’s work for “this puppet government,” that gives his death strategic importance: in a battle for legitimacy, NATO will need legitimate local partners in Kandahar — precisely what the Taliban seek to deny the coalition ahead of a possible offensive to clear the Taliban from the city this summer.