A suicide bomber has killed three people at a Kandahar mosque during a memorial service for Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president's brother who was assassinated last week.
Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor's office, confirmed three people were killed and 15 were wounded in the attack. However, witnesses said five people had died and more than 25 were injured.
"The suicide attacker entered the mosque. One of the people who died was Maulawi Ekmattulah, the head of the local ulema shura (the provincial religious council)," Ayoubi said. The identity of the others killed has not yet been confirmed.
Ahmed Wali Karzai was shot by his personal bodyguard on Tuesday and was buried at the family gravesite in the village of Karz.
The funeral was attended by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, politicians, dignitaries and thousands of other mourners. Islamic custom dictates the deceased must be buried within 24 hours of death.
Thursday's memorial service was planned to allow those travelling from further afield who would not arrive in time for the burial to pay their respects.
The police have launched an investigation into the killing of Karzai as it is unclear why a trusted aide would murder him. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination but a personal conflict has not been ruled out. Hamid Karzai was not at today's memorial service, having already returned to Kabul.
The Tuesday burial passed without incident amid tight security provided by the Afghan national security forces. However, Helmand's governor, Gulab Mangal, was targeted by a remotely detonated roadside bomb in Maiwand district of Kandahar as he travelled to the funeral. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Following the last string of attacks, a call for Afghans to continue fighting the Nato presence has been published by a Taliban website and a statement titled "Suggestions of the Islamic Emirate to the Rulers of the Kabul Administration on the occasion of Assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai" says the Afghan President's younger brother was linked to the CIA.
"The other day, Ahmad Wali Karzai, half-brother of the Head of the Kabul surrogate Regime was killed by martyr Sardar Mohammad who was in contact with the Mujahideen..... He was the most trusted person close to the invading forces in south Afghanistan. Cooperating with the Americans, Canadians and Britons for the control of the south-west zone, he played key role in spreading the net of intelligence of the Western invaders and boosting their sway in south-west Afghanistan. Even now, he received high salary from CIA." The document reads.
Resembling the rhetoric used by Al-Qaeda, the statement depicts a demonising image of the western troops who are seen as the persecutors of innocent civilians.
"During his reign in the past few years, Kandahar and adjacent areas, like any other part of the country, born the brunt of atrocities of the foreign invading troops, in assistance with the domestic Afghan hireling forces. During this period, a great number of people were martyred, detained or forced to leave their homes and hertz on charges of being opposed to the presence of the invaders. Even many villages and orchards were destroyed and government/private properties usurped in Kandahar. "
The statement then gives a chilling warning to other Afghans, by threatening that those who "cooperate with the invading forces in Afghanistan in contravention of their religion, country and indigenous values, should take a lesson from the incident that happened the other day. They should reconsider their demeanour and actions and should know these people (Afghans) are religious and patriotic. No one of them is ready to tolerate cooperation with and presence of the foreign infidel invaders on this soil."
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan then called on those Afghans who work in the ranks of the invaders of Afghanistan, to walk out of their position and join the Islamist movement and its fight against the West.
The terrorist group once again provides a hugely distorted and Manichean version of the situation in Afghanistan and attempts a slight parallel with what is happening in the rest of the Arab world. The terrorists are here described as just people who are opposed to the invaders and protests for their country.
The call however seems more targeted to the people outside of Afghanistan, as many civilians in the country cannot be duped, many having lost closed ones in Taliban attacks over the years.
By deciding to address directly the Karzai government, the Islamic Emirate group confirms a fear that after the announcement of withdrawal from U.S, U.K and French troops, the battle between the Afghan government and the Taliban is still on and now more than ever.