Government official killed, three election workers injured in attacks in southern Afghanistan

Saturday, July 31st 2004, 11:44 am
By: News On 6

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) _ Gunmen killed a local government leader and four of his bodyguards in an ambush in southern Afghanistan Saturday, and a mine injured three election workers.

Two rockets also exploded inside a building in the Afghan capital overnight in what NATO troops trying to shore up the country's shaky security said was an attempt to lure police and troops into a trap.

Mayor Thawos Khan died when assailants riding in two cars opened fire on his pickup truck in Khana Shien district of Helmand province, said Mohammed Wali, a spokesman for the provincial governor. Four guards were also killed and a fifth wounded.

Government troops later surrounded a village where the attackers were suspected of hiding.

``We will arrest them and then we'll see if they are Taliban,'' Wali said.

The three election workers were seriously injured when a mine exploded near their vehicle in central Uruzgan province on Friday, Gov. Jan Mohammed said.

Khan said two suspected Taliban had been arrested in the area, including one called Mullah Maqib.

``They admitted laying the mine for the registration vehicle,'' Khan said.

In Kabul, two rockets exploded late Friday inside a ruined building, injuring no one, the city's international security force said.

Investigators suspected that the rockets were supposed to detonate at intervals so that security forces would be hit by the second blast, spokesman Cdr. Chris Henderson said.

More than 650 people have died in violence across Afghanistan this year, from militants and soldiers to government officials and aid workers.

Most of the bloodshed has been in the insurgency-plagued south and east, though Kabul has also on edge after President Hamid Karzai this week dropped a powerful warlord who acts as his deputy and defense minister from his team for October elections.