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Governor of Kandahar brushes off assassination attempt

The Afghan-Canadian governor of volatile Kandahar province dismissed a bomber's assassination attempt against him as "nothing" yesterday as he celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha with relatives and local elders.

Tooryalai Wesa's motorcade was headed to a Kandahar city mosque for Eid prayers yesterday morning when a bomb shattered the window of his armoured vehicle. One bodyguard was taken to hospital with minor injuries and later released.

"It was really nothing," Dr. Wesa said between celebratory hugs. "It simply shows that these insurgents do not heed Eid or any other religious holidays."

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He added that the bomb was likely detonated by remote control and intended for him.

Dr. Wesa was born in Afghanistan but fled to Coquitlam, B.C., in 1991. There he worked as an agriculture specialist at the University of British Columbia before Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a childhood friend, persuaded him to take over the dangerous governor's post.

Police forces throughout Kandahar were bracing for a violent day yesterday as Muslim militants have been known to increase attacks during holidays when public gatherings are larger and security lower, but few incidents were reported as of last night.

Elsewhere in the province, coalition troops killed an alleged Taliban commander and detained several militants in three separate operations. Troops also located and detonated a sizable cache of homemade bombs, grenades and ammunition belonging to insurgents.

Roughly 2,700 Canadian troops are stationed in the province.

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About the Author
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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