Bomb hidden in microphone kills Afghan governor at mosque prayers

Police and officials examine the mosque in Puli Alam, Logar Province, Afghanistan, where a bomb hidden in the base of a microphone killed Governor Arsallah Jamal, Tuesday. Ahsanullah Majuze / AP

KABUL, Afghanistan – A provincial governor and close confidante of President Hamid Karzai was assassinated by a bomb hidden in a microphone that exploded as he spoke at a mosque Tuesday, officials said.

Arsala Jamal, the governor of Logar province, near the capital Kabul, was killed at 8.45 a.m. local time (12.15 a.m. ET) as he spoke after prayers celebrating the Islamic holiday, Eid.

15 people were injured in the attack but there were no other fatalities, according to Din Mohammad Darwish, spokesman for Jamal’s office.

Darwish said the bombing took place at the main mosque in the provincial capital of Puli Alam.

Jamal, an ethnic Pashtun who was in his 40s, had previously survived four suicide attacks and served as a Minister of Tribal and Frontier Affairs. He was the deputy campaign manager for Karzai in the 2009 presidential elections.

Fazlullah Mujaddedi, the governor of Laghman province, posted on his Facebook page that the bomb was placed in Jamal’s microphone and detonated as he began his Eid greetings.

Governor Arsallah Jamal, seen here on Saturday. Ahsanullah Majuze / AP

No group has so far said it was behind the attack, although the Taliban has claimed it was responsible for similar high-profile assassinations in the past.

The country’s ministry for local governance issued a statement confirming the incident, adding that the bomb was placed by the "enemies of Afghanistan", a term that usually refers to the Taliban.

In a statement issued through this spokesman, Karzai condemned the attack and blamed the Taliban, saying it had "no respect for mosques."

"These attacks, which the Taliban do in the name of Islam, cause death and injury to innocent Muslims, and cannot be the work of Muslims, but rather those who have been assigned to kill Muslims."

The Taliban has targeted Afghan officials, military and NATO troops as part of a campaign to retake territory as international troops draw down ahead of a full pullout at the end of 2014.

A bomb hidden in a video camera was used in the 2001 assassination – two days before 9/11 – of Ahmad Shah Masood, a leader of forces fighting the Taliban prior to the US invasion.

NBC News' Alastair Jamieson contributed to this report.