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Afghan Defense Minister Escapes Assassination Attempt


Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has escaped what officials believe was an assassination attempt at Kabul's main airport. Officials say four gunmen in military uniforms opened fire on a vehicle belonging to Mr. Wardak after he got out and boarded a nearby helicopter. No one was wounded in the incident. A ministry spokesman says nine people have been arrested over the shooting. The Associated Press reports all the suspects are soldiers. The attack came about a week before parliamentary elections that Taleban militants have vowed to disrupt. Officials say hours after the shooting, a helicopter carrying the country's army chief (Bismillah Khan) and a cabinet member (Minister for the Disabled Sediga Balkhi), crashed in Panjshir Valley (north of Kabul), where Mr. Wardak had flown for a memorial ceremony. No one was seriously injured.
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