KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two would-be assassins made their way into the governor's compound in Kandahar on Saturday, using the unusual tactic of concealing pistols and explosives in their footwear, but were killed in a gunbattle before they could get close to their target, provincial authorities said. Two police officers were slain as well.
Insurgents have made many attempts on the life of the U.S.-educated governor of Kandahar province, Tooryalai Wesa, but this appeared to be a closer brush than most since these attackers managed to get inside his heavily guarded compound. Taliban fighters have killed dozens of government officials in the province, which is the movement’s traditional home base.
Searches of members of the public entering government installations and other sensitive sites became more thorough after two high-profile assassinations last year -- of the mayor of Kandahar and the head of the country’s High Peace Council -- in which the attackers concealed explosives in their bulky turbans. Generally, though, people are not asked to remove boots and shoes in the course of searches.
Ahmad Faisal Jawad, a spokesman for the governor, said the attack began about 11:15 a.m., after the assailants were waved through a police barricade at the compound’s perimeter. Inside, they opened fire with pistols, killing two policemen during a 20-minute firefight, which ended when the attackers were gunned down.
The governor was unharmed, he said.
-- Laura King and Hashmat Baktash
Photo: Afghan soldiers, left, pass a U.S. Army soldier outside a military base in Panjwai, Kandahar province. Credit: Allauddin Khan / Associated Press