Bomb In Turban Kills Afghan-American Mayor in Kandahar

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Taliban Takes Credit For Assassination

In Kabul, in his first press conference, newly appointed ambassador Ryan Crocker disputed the argument that the increased number of assassinations threatened the U.S. effort in Kandahar.

"Assassinations are horrific acts -- they are acts of terror and can have major impacts," said Crocker, who became ambassador on Monday. "But I don't think you can chart a straight line that says that three assassinations guarantees a total unraveling either of international support or Afghan confidence. It could very well go the other way."

The Taliban took credit for the assassination, but the first reporters who called the Taliban's spokesman said he was initially unaware of Hamidi's death.

It is unclear who is responsible for Hamidi's death -- or any of the other assassinations in Kandahar.

Since Ahmed Wali Karzai's killing, the province has become extremely susceptible to power brokers who are willing to use violence to secure control. Hamidi was seen as an ally of Ahmed Wali Karzai and a possible future governor, and could have been targeted in Kandahar's succession struggle.

Whoever killed him, Western and Afghan officials said Hamidi's death is a huge loss to the region.

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"He was struggling with all the powerful people in Kandahar - the land grabbers and people who were breaking the law," Kandahar's governor said in a statement. "That's why the militants targeted him."

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