Roadside bomb kills Afghan district official

By AMIR SHAH | March 21, 2013 | 3:28 AM EDT

An Afghan Army soldier secures the hill overlooking the Kart-e Sakhi mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Thousands of Afghans will celebrate on Thursday, March 21, 2013, the Iranian New Year Nowruz, marking the first day of spring and the beginning of the year on the Iranian calendar. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Police say a roadside bomb has killed a district administrator and two of his bodyguards in northern Afghanistan.

Thursday's attack in Takhar province came as Afghans were celebrating the first day of the Persian new year, or Nowruz.

Police spokesman Abdul Khalil Asir says the bomb went off as the official drove over a bridge near his home in Ishkamish district.

He says Abdul Manan Hakimi was heading out in the morning to make preparations for the holiday celebration.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in an email to reporters.

Afghan officials are common targets for Taliban insurgents, who say they are collaborating with Western occupiers and do not consider them civilians. Last year saw a surge of assassinations of Afghans connected to the government.